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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 21 December 2000

21 December 2000

21 December 2000 Leading political and religious figures in Germany have condemned the vote in the British House of Commons last Tuesday to authorise destructive research on cloned human embryos. Edelgard Bulmahn, the country's science minister, commented: "We are united with all other European Union countries that the cloning of embryos steps over ethical and moral boundaries." Gerhard Schroeder, the German chancellor, said that embryonic stem cell research should remain banned while the potential of adult stem cells was explored. Manfred Koch, head of Germany's Lutheran church, said that the British move would complete "the breach of an ethical dam feared by many Christians and other critics of biotechnology in Europe". [Ananova, 20 December ] A series of articles published in today's Nature journal report that a newly developed vaccine could be used to cure Alzheimer's disease. The vaccine has been shown to clear clumps of the protein beta amyloid in the brains of genetically engineered mice. Theses clumps are thought to be significant factors in the onset of Alzheimer's. Researchers have said that it could be another five years before the vaccine is first used on patients. [The Guardian, 21 December ] A spokesman for SPUC commented: "This new advance demonstrates the fallacy of arguments put forward in the British House of Commons last Tuesday that embryonic stem cell research provides the only realistic hope of a cure for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's." The government of South Korea has proposed a law which would outlaw all human cloning as well as any medical and bioengineering research on human embryos. The bill explicitly prohibits the artificial production of embryos and the alteration or manipulation of an embryo's genetic make-up. [EWTN News and LifeSite Daily News , 20 December] A report published by the Mahbub Ul Haq Human Development Centre in Pakistan, and partly funded by the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund, has concluded that sex selective abortions and discrimination against female children after birth has led to 79 million women "missing in South Asia". The survey of Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives found that there were only 94 women for every 100 men, compared with a worldwide average of 106 women to every 100 men. [Reuters, via Independent Newspapers Ltd of New Zealand, 16 December ] An unborn child who was torn from his mother's womb in a road accident in Kentucky, USA, has survived. His mother, who was eight months' pregnant, died in the crash but her child, who has been named Patrick, was found lying next to her still attached by the umbilical cord. He was relatively unscathed with only a small cut on his knee. The baby's father, who was driving the vehicle, also escaped alive. [Lexington Herald-Leader, 20 December ] Pope John Paul II's general prayer intention for this month is that "the celebration of the Jubilee may become the source of a new commitment in men and women of good will to protect and promote human life". [LifeSite Daily News, 20 December ] An outspoken pro-life Mexican bishop has died, aged 74. Luis Reynoso Cervantes, bishop of Cuernavaca, served as the legal advisor to the Mexican bishops' council and once described Mexico City's former mayor as "a murderer and a coward" for proposing the legalisation of abortion in cases of rape and involuntary artificial insemination. [AP, 21 December ]

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