News, 7 December 2001
7 December 2001
7 December 2001 European Union leaders will vote on Monday on a budget which could finance research on aborted foetuses, embryos generated for fertility treatment, embryonic stem cells and human cloning. Pro-lifers in the EU are being urged to contact their countries' ministers with responsibility for research to ask them to amend the plans in the Caudron report which outline how €17 billion (about £11 billion) will be spent over the next five years. The vote will be in the EU's council of ministers. [Euro-Fam , 7 December, and see news for 15 November ] Senator Hillary Clinton, the former American first lady, is said to be pushing for the introduction of abortion in Afghanistan. Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute in the USA, claims that Senator Clinton has been helping the Afghan affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation to campaign for abortion and family planning services in the war-ravaged country, even though most Afghan women oppose abortion. [EWTN News, 7 December ] A doctor was convicted yesterday in the Netherlands of practising euthanasia illegally, although he was spared a prison sentence. Dr Philip Sutorius was found to have killed Edward Brongersma, a former senator, in 1998 because Mr Brongersma was tired of life and not for so-called medical reasons. The case was seen as a test of how strictly the courts would interpret the law which legalised euthanasia in the Netherlands in April. Supporters of euthanasia have urged Dr Sutorius to appeal because they believe the court has defined the medical justification for euthanasia too narrowly. [Reuters, 6 December; via Pro-Life Infonet ] 11 top prenatal specialists in France have said that they will refuse to carry out ultrasound and other diagnostic tests on unborn children following the ruling by the country's highest court that disabled children can be compensated for not having been aborted [see Monday's news ]. In a letter to Le Monde, a French daily newspaper, the specialists (from eight hospitals) wrote: "[The ruling] encourages doctors to worry about their own protection rather than that of their patient. It is impossible for us now to perform our work, which moreover will become uninsurable very soon." [Reuters, via Yahoo! News, 4 December ] Alison Davis, head of SPUC's handicap division, commented: "In refusing to do any more ultrasound scans 'until the law is changed' the specialists are showing self-interest, but no concern at all for the babies who would be detected by ultrasound as having a disability and aborted as a result. They actually want to be able to continue their search-and-destroy work. Whether or not the law is changed, disabled babies will continue to be sought out and killed, or their lives regarded as a disbenefit until society acknowledges that all human beings have equal, and infinite, value." Scientists in Germany have succeeded in making damaged nerves re-grow to fill gaps of more than a centimetre in length. A team at the university of Münster carried out the experiments on the severed optic nerves of rats and they hope that the technique could also be used to treat spinal injuries in humans. The researchers managed to overcome the resistance to re-growth of damaged nerves by using proteins called crystallins which can stop other proteins from inhibiting re-growth. [BBC News online, 6 December ] This development provides more evidence of the potential of ethical alternatives to the use of embryonic stem cells and cloned humans to grow body tissue.