For the first time in the UK, doctors have used keyhole surgery to repair the spine of a baby with spina bifida while still in the womb. Sherrie Sharp was shocked when she was told at a 20-week scan that her little boy’s spine was not developing properly, but said abortion was a “definite no”. Spina bifida is when a baby’s spine and spinal cord don’t develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine. Sherrie opted for the ground-breaking surgery to limit the damage, saying: “I wanted to do the best for my baby, I wanted him to have a better life and there’s nothing wrong with that.” In a three-hour operation, surgeons put the exposed section of spinal cord back in place and used a patch to cover it. Mr Bassel Zebian, a consultant neurosurgeon at the hospital, said operating in the womb reduced the risk of complications later in life. He said: “It’s quite important, because improving the function of the lower limbs may be the difference between someone walking and someone not walking later in life.”

 
 
 

A Darlington church is coming under fire after offering to cover up crosses and allow Muslims to say prayers in its building. St Matthew and St Luke's had initially invited members of the Muslim community for an event next month to mark Ramadan. It also offered different rooms to allow segregated worship for men and women. Upon hearing about the event the Diocese of Durham intervened and told the church it must not hold Islamic prayers in the church building. Rt Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden, a former chaplain to the Queen, is one of many to speak out. Speaking to Premier, the Anglican Bishop of the Christian Episcopal Church in the UK said: "Clearly the motivation behind the event is very good. Anything that tries to get people together to understand each other and be good neighbors, is laudable and to be appreciated but it has to be done from a position of integrity.

 
 
 

New research indicates that sex-selective abortions may have resulted in the deaths of more than 23 million girls around the world. Research from the National University of Singapore, reported in the New Scientist, found that since sex-selective abortion became readily available in the 1970s, male births dominated in twelve countries. The majority of “missing” females are in China and India. Researchers analysed data from 202 different countries for 1970 to 2017, looking specifically at sex ratio at birth and sex ratio imbalance. Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Montenegro, Taiwan, Tunisia and Vietnam showed an excess of male births. China alone accounts for 51 per cent of the missing girls (11.9 million), and India a further 10.6 million.