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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 23 May 2001

23 May 2001

23 May 2001 The general assembly of the Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination, has sanctioned the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos for research. The motion passed by delegates stipulated that no research should be undertaken on cloned embryos of more than 14 days' development, and opposed research on embryos left over from in vitro fertilisation treatment unless it was related to human reproduction. Delegates also said that cloned embryos should not be allowed to be born. The denomination's board of social responsibility endorsed destructive human cloning research last month and the general assembly was expected to approve the board's conclusion. [Daily Telegraph, 23 May; SPUC news digest, 1 May ] A British pro-life political party will today challenge in the High Court a decision by the BBC not to broadcast its election film. [Under British law, all political parties which field a sufficient number of parliamentary candidates can have short information films under their own editorial control broadcast on national television.] The BBC has said that the election broadcast of the ProLife Alliance failed to comply with its code of decency and taste. During the last general election campaign in 1997, the ProLife Alliance lost a similar challenge and had to broadcast a film with images of aborted unborn children blacked out. [BBC News online, 23 May ] The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain has condemned the morning-after pill. Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco, archbishop of Madrid and president of the Spanish bishops' conference, affirmed that a chemical product which did not aim to heal any illness but which was intended to kill a newly conceived human "nesting in the maternal womb" could not be used. [EWTN News, 21 May ] A research team in Japan claims to have discovered a protein which can stop the death of brain cells in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Ikuo Nishimoto, a professor of pharmacology and neurosciences at Keio University in Tokyo, held out the hope that humanin, a protein produced naturally in the rear part of the brain, could eventually be used to cure Alzheimer's disease. [Reuters, via ABC News, 22 May ] The treatment of Alzheimer's disease is one of the potential applications of embryonic stem cell research and so-called therapeutic cloning. This development provides yet another potential alternative to the destructive use of human embryos. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Baltimore has written to members of the US congress urging them to approve the Human Cloning Prohibition Act. Cardinal William H Keeler, who is also chairman of the US bishops ' committee on pro-life activities, wrote that the legislation was "the most carefully crafted and widely supported bill to be introduced on this issue". [CNS, 22 May ]

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