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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 11 December 2001

11 December 2001

11 December 2001 A fertility expert intends to open a clinic in London where customers could select babies through pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to serve as tissue or organ donors for sick siblings. Dr Mohammed Taranissi claims that a legal loophole will allow him to proceed even if the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority does not issue him with the licence he has applied for. Even Lord Winston, the fertility expert who pioneered PGD to screen out babies with genetic anomalies, has described Dr Taranissi's plans as "fundamentally wrong and fundamentally dangerous". [BBC News online, 11 December ] Dominic Baster of SPUC commented: "The more sinister aspect of this development is that PGD for any reason entails fatal discrimination against individual human embryos who do not meet the desired criteria. The utilitarian argument, which says that the killing of any number of early human embryos is a justifiable means to the end of curing a child of a serious illness, is flawed. It is never justifiable to kill an innocent human being to save another." A complaint from a medical student has stopped resident doctors in Tasmania, Australia, from performing abortions because doing so is illegal. The Law Reform Institute is due to report on a 1924 state law, under which no doctor has been tried, and Mr Jim Bacon, the state's premier, says that politicians will have a free vote on a new abortion law if changes are needed. An abortionist from Melbourne is reportedly flying to Hobart, the state capital, once a week to carry out terminations. [News Interactive, 11 December ] The Republic of Ireland's main opposition party could oppose plans for a new referendum on abortion. Mr Gay Mitchell, health spokesman for Fine Gael, said that the majority of his party were against the referendum "for one reason or another", though party members would be free to campaign according to their conscience. The Green Party, Labour and Sinn Féin are also opposing the referendum. [The Irish Times, 10 December ] The health committee of the Canadian House of Commons has reportedly approved destructive experimentation on human embryos. The committee's report on proposed legislation regarding new reproductive technologies is said to support research on supernumerary IVF embryos up to 14 days old. The Canadian Alliance, the main opposition party, is expected to issue a dissenting report opposing research on human embryos. [LifeSite, 10 December ] More than 300 health professionals are opposing the provision of morning-after pills on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana. Medical/Health Professionals for Life, a coalition of pro-life groups, is campaigning against the provision of the drug at the student health centre because it causes the abortion of young human beings. [Evansville Courier and Press, 8 December ]

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