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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 7 August 2001

7 August 2001

7 August 2001 Human reproductive cloning is set to begin in November and SPUC sees this is the inevitable outcome of British legalisation of so-called therapeutic cloning. Professor Severino Antinori--who has acknowledged his debt to the UK government--will this week announce his intention to use cloned embryos to impregnate 200 women including eight from Britain. SPUC's Paul Tully said: "Human cloning for reproductive purposes will create a genetic underclass. Although people who are produced through cloning will be as human as the rest of us, there is always a risk they will be stigmatised because of the way in which they came to be." SPUC also pointed out the physical dangers of cloning, as shown by experiments on animals. [Sunday Times and SPUC media release , 5 August] Morning-after pills may be legalised in Ireland on the recommendation of the cabinet's abortion sub-committee. As well as debating a referendum on abortion, the sub-committee has been looking at ways of reducing unwanted pregnancies. [Irish Times reported in Irish Independent, 7 August ] As reported elsewhere, morning-after pills can act in an abortifacient way by affecting the womb so that the young embryo cannot implant. Media-coverage continues of concerns about the General Medical Council's draft guidance on withdrawal of food and fluid. Yesterday's Daily Telegraph described the warnings from the group of doctors and lawyers [see our news of the 20th of last month ] that the guidance comes close to endorsing murder. Mr James Bogle, the pro-life lawyer, is quoted as saying: "If the GMC guidance permits the withdrawing and withholding of tube fluids to non-dying patients so as to cause their death then it will have endorsed intentional killing of the non-dying." Mr Bogle described dehydration as a cruel death which painkillers could not always assuage. [Daily Telegraph, 6 August ] On Friday we reported on SPUC's concerns that the Official Solicitor might have given some form of approval to the guidance, which is disputed and potentially controversial. British taxpayers are implicated in a programme of 20,000 abortions and sterilisations in a part of China where the country's one-child policy has been flouted. Some terminations in Huaiji county will be carried out by force and all the procedures must be performed by the end of this year. Census officials found that the average family in Huaiji had five children. [Sunday Telegraph, 5 August ] The Chinese Family Planning Association, which participates in China's coercive population control programme, is part of the International Planned Parenthood Federation which receives UK government money. President Bush has said that he will decide whether federal funding will be provided for embryo research by early next month. [Zenit, 5 August ] A 60-year-old Japanese woman has given birth to her first child who was produced through in vitro fertilisation in the USA using a donor's ova. [Nando Times, 6 August ]

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