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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 27 January 2000

27 January 2000

27 January 2000 The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has defended a parliamentary Bill which would tighten the law against euthanasia. Speaking on ITN's Powerhouse programme today, Paul Tully, general secretary, emphasised that the Medical Treatment (Prevention of Euthanasia) Bill, which will be debated in the House of Commons tomorrow, would not compel doctors to give futile treatment. He said that elderly people were scared at the prospect of being killed while receiving medical treatment. Dr Peter Brand, also on the programme, complained that the Bill would require him to treat old people with terminal conditions. Writing in today's Daily Telegraph, Mrs Ann Winterton, sponsor of the Bill, states that her proposed law would not stop doctors from giving adequate palliative care, even if such care shortened lives. An expert on fertility has said that genetically modified humans are inevitable. Lord Winston, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Hammersmith Hospital, London, told the Royal Society that cloning was "relatively unimportant in terms of the threat that it poses to our understanding of what it is like to be human". He warned that not enough was known about the human genetic make-up to predict, for example, the effect on future generations of altering an individual's IQ genes. Lord Winston objected to the British government's recently-imposed ban on the cloning of early embryos for the production of tissue for medical treatment. [Roger Highfield, Daily Telegraph website, 27 January, 2000] Scientists who have worked on the Dolly-the-sheep project claim that they can create an unlimited number of human clones without sacrificing a human embryo in each case. The technique, which uses an embryo's stem-cells, is said to help in growing organs and tissue. [The Independent, 27 January, 2000] Even the occasional glass of wine drunk by an expectant mother can damage her unborn baby's brain and central nervous system, according to Ms Jennifer Little, research fellow at Belfast University. Around two thirds of British women drink during pregnancy. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend a maximum of seven units per week and the Midwives' Association say that drinking 10 units a week is safe. [Daily Mail, Daily Record and The Guardian, 27 January, 2000] This bulletin is privately circulated by The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, 5/6 St Matthew Street, London, United Kingdom, SW1P 2JT, +44 20 7222 3763. The reliability of the news herein is dependent on the cited sources. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the society. Please forward this bulletin to other interested parties. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an appropriate email to

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