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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 17 May 2000

17 May 2000

17 May 2000 The Scotland on Sunday newspaper has reported that Dr Liam Donaldson's report on human cloning was delivered last week to British ministers. All the signs are that the report will recommend so-called therapeutic cloning, and the newspaper quotes a source inside the Department of Health as saying, "The important thing is that people don't get stuck on the word 'cloning' with its rather strange connotations and recognise that this is incredibly important science." The source added that any final decision would take some time. [Scotland on Sunday, 15 May] Paul Tully, General Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said : "This is clearly a planned leak on the part of the British government to soften the impact when the Donaldson committee report is eventually published and so-called therapeutic cloning is given the go-ahead." The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and other pro-life groups in Britain are launching a nationwide petition calling on the government to outlaw all human cloning. In a press release, John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, condemned both so-called therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning, and mentioned the possibility of ethical alternatives. Petition forms for UK residents are available by telephoning (020) 7222 5845. [SPUC media release, 16th May] More than three quarters of family doctors in England believe that elderly patients suffer discrimination in hospital. The survey by pressure group Age Concern also indicated that half of family doctors would worry if an elderly member of their family were admitted to hospital. [The Times&Daily Telegraph, 17 May] The Prince of Wales will tonight launch an attack on new technology such as cloning and genetically modified food, warning of "potentially disastrous consequences". The platform for his comments will be this year's last Reith Lecture. [Metro, 17 May] The lecture will be broadcast in the UK this Friday on Radio 4 at 8 pm. As Pope John Paul II prepares to celebrate his 80th birthday tomorrow, members of Youth for Life in the USA are planning to mark his 81st 'firstday'. The group will present him with a 'firstday' card in Rome on August 18th to make the point that a person's life should be celebrated from its very beginning, nine months before birth. [Zenith News Agency, 16 May] Mrs Ann Winterton's early day motion in the British House of Commons criticising moves towards euthanasia, mentioned in previous news digests, has now received the signatures of 41 MPs in total. The motion is entitled "Prevention of Euthanasia by Omission". [Notices of Motions, House of Commons, 15 May]

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