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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 18 May 2000

18 May 2000

18 May 2000 As the publication of the Donaldson committee report on human cloning is awaited in the UK, a similar situation exists in the United States. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been pondering a set of rules to govern cloning research for more than a year and their recommendations are now expected to be put before the American Department of Health and Human Services in June. However, some observers believe that this could be delayed until after the presidential election given the controversial nature of the subject. James Thompson, a developmental biologist, can at present accept only private money for his stem-cell research involving human embryos. Complaining about the present lack of legal regulation, he wrote, "This omission specifically allows private-sector scientists to either create human embryos specifically for research or buy them in the regulatory netherworld of infertility clinics. If you want to buy and sell embryos, you can do that." [Star Tribune Online, 17 May] The decision on whom American presidential candidate George W. Bush will appoint as his running mate is looming. One front-runner is Tom Ridge, Governor of Pennsylvania. He is known as a Catholic pro-abortionist and is presently feuding with his bishop, a fact commentators have warned might drive away Catholic voters. [Weekly Standard, 15 May; from Pro-Life Infonet] 76 percent of Nebraskans favour legal restrictions on abortion, and 57 percent think that partial-birth abortions should be banned. The opinion poll, which was conducted during the first week of this month, comes after the state defended its partial-birth abortion ban before the US Supreme Court. A recent national poll indicated that 66 percent of all Americans favour a ban on partial-birth abortions. [Omaha World Herald, 16 May; from Pro-Life Infonet]

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