The ACL compiles a daily media monitoring services of stories of interest relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. See here to read what's in the news today.



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Abortion
Tightening of abortion rules in the UK could result in 60,000 less abortions

Shannon Buckley - MercatorNet


The abortion rules in the United Kingdom are set to be tightened in what has been described as "the biggest shake-up in a generation". The plan would introduce a mandatory obligation on abortion clinics to offer women access to independent counselling, which is run on separate premises by a group which does not itself carry out abortions.





Woman in intensive care after a late term abortion at a Melbourne clinic
Padraic Murphy - Herald Sun


Health authorities have launched investigations after a seriously ill woman was rushed to Box Hill Hospital last week following complications during surgery at a Melbourne clinic that specialises in late term abortions.





Talk choice, no time to waste
Leslie Cannold – The Age


A woman was taken to Box Hill Hospital last week after complications while having an abortion at a clinic in Croydon. She suffered organ failure. Whatever the connection between the abortion procedure and the woman's current condition - and there is no evidence that there is one - any incident at a clinic that provides ''late-term'' abortions raises questions in the community.





Classification
House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut too violent to be rated

Greg Tom - Herald


An ultra-violent video game in which players "shoot down mutants in humorous circumstances" has been banned by the censorship watchdog. The decision to ban the game comes just weeks after the federal and state governments agreed to introduce an adults-only category for video games next year.





Donor Conception & Surrogacy
Slow road to surrogacy law

Hannah Martin - The Mercury


It could be several years before surrogacy is legalised in Tasmania, warns the head of a government inquiry committee. The revelation comes after a Hobart Family Court judge was forced to decide who should have legal responsibility for a baby boy, born through a controversial surrogacy agreement that has shocked even the most ardent surrogacy supporters.





Drugs & Alcohol
Social networking sites encouraging alcohol abuse in teenagers, reveals a study

Naveen Kar - Social Barrel


A new study conducted by Columbia University has revealed that regular use of social networking sites like Facebook is encouraging alcohol and drug abuse among teenagers, reports PTI. The study claims that teens using social networking sites daily are much more likely to drink, smoke and use marijuana. The study was conducted on 1,000 American teenagers in the age group of 12 to 17 years. The study revealed that users who open the social networking websites daily were five times more likely to smoke tobacco than those who are infrequent users.





Gambling
Andrew Wilkie absolute on pokie reform

Milanda Rout - The Australian


Independent MP Andrew Wilkie remains committed to withdrawing support from Julia Gillard next May if his poker-machine reforms are not passed by parliament -- even if the government supports the legislation and negotiates strongly for its passage. The Tasmanian MP said Ms Gillard's government was only in power because it had promised him it could achieve the introduction of mandatory precommitment to high-intensity poker machines.





Marriage
A dad does matter to a child, whether gay couples like it or not
David van Gend - The Australian


A bigot is someone who refuses to see the other point of view. Articles by Peter van Onselen and James Valentine in The Weekend Australian smeared opponents of gay marriage as bigots, yet both men refuse to see the other point of view -- and that means the point of view of the child.








MPs won't jump on same-sex bandwagon
Paul Kelly - The Australian


The debate, contrary to media interpretations, showed the diligence of the MPs on either side. The focus now shifts to the ALP national conference, when Labor must determine its stand. The party is deeply divided but knows that letting same-sex marriage dominate its agenda would be seen as proof of its irresponsibility. It would expose Labor as obsessed about itself, not the issues facing the nation.





Overseas Aid
Pacific islands accuse Australia's aid agency of coercion

Daniel Flitton - The Age


Australia's overseas aid agency has been accused of strong-arm tactics in the south Pacific by seeking to unfairly influence tiny island neighbours in a free trade deal, leaked documents reveal. The confidential documents show Pacific island countries could abandon trade talks at a regional leaders' forum next week unless Australia stops pressuring the funding of Pacific trade negotiators. The documents obtained by The Age show the Pacific nations are also determined to leverage any trade deal to expand a guest workers scheme in Australia beyond fruit picking and agriculture, allowing islanders into other low-skilled jobs.





Prostitution
Underbelly: Razor's myth hides the ugly truth

Claire Harvey - The Sunday Telegraph


Silk-satin dressing gowns, rosebud lips popping with bright red colour, pin curls, those elegant little kitten-heeled bedroom slippers I've always wanted a pair of those. They make prostitution look pretty nice. What a great big fib that is and how galling that the horrible lie of glamorous sex work persists into 2011.





Queensland's legal brothels feeling the pinch as 'sex sells' adage fails to ring true
Felicity Caldwell - The Sunday Mail


The old adage "sex sells" is under threat as the state's legal brothels struggle to stay in business. There are 24 legal brothels operating in Queensland, but four have gone bust in recent months as a difficult economy infiltrates the "recession-proof" industry. The company that owns the state's first legal brothel went into voluntary liquidation last month, while other owners have revealed the January floods have left clients tighter with their money.





Religious Persecution
North Sudan church still too fearful to rebuild

Christian Today


More than seven months after Muslim extremists burned its church building, a Presbyterian Church of the Sudan congregation is still afraid to meet for worship, according to Christian sources. The Rev Maubark Hamad said his church in Wad Madani, 138 kilometers southeast of Khartoum, has not been able to rebuild since the January 15 devastation due to the congregation’s meager resources. “Nothing has been done for the burned church building; so far it has not been rebuilt,” he told Compass.





Christian Pastor in Iran freed from prison, most likely faces a trial for blasphemy against Islam
Michael Ireland - ASSIST News Service


Jason Demars of Present Truth Ministries told ANS: “A family member pledged their property so that he could get out of prison. Thank you for praying for him and for all who helped make this known throughout the world. God worked through your prayers and made a way for his release.” Haghnejad has been charged with blasphemy against Islam. Demars also wants concerned believers to remember that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani remains in prison awaiting the re-examination of his case for apostasy.





Sexualisation of Society
Tikkabilla children's TV host Sarah-Jane Honeywell in raunchy adult shots
The Daily Telegraph


Sarah-Jane Honeywell, best known for presenting popular kid's show Tikkabilla on BBC children's channel CBeebies, appeared on celebrity photographer Marc de Groot's Facebook page. In the pictures, 37-year-old Honeywell pours diet coke over an almost see-through vest and poses wearing candyfloss "underwear" in the fun but definitely grown-up pictures.





Further
Craig Thomson fiasco an insult to HSU members

Miranda Devine - The Sunday Telegraph


Cena Krstevska is a cleaner at the Royal North Shore Hospital. She is 69 years old. Her legs ache from varicose veins brought on by a job, which has her on her feet eight hours a day. After 39 years, the Willoughby grandmother would like to retire but she can't afford to. She earns $41,000 a year. Every fortnight she pays $23 in dues to the Health Services Union, the scandal-racked organisation once headed by Craig Thomson, the Labor MP for the NSW Central Coast seat of Dobell.