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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 15 November 2001

15 November 2001

15 November 2001 The English high court has ruled that there is no law governing cloned embryos. Mr Justice Crane agreed with the ProLife Alliance that the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act only governs embryos created by the fusion of sperm and eggs. The British government, which tried to sanction cloning with a statutory instrument passed in January, is to appeal against the decision. [BBC, 15 November ] SPUC's Paul Tully said: "This judgement forces the government to make good its promise to introduce primary legislation on cloning, which has been put on the back burner. The ProLife Alliance has created the opportunity for a comprehensive ban on cloning to be considered by parliament. "Advances in research on stem-cells from non-embryo sources have continued to undermine claims that no cure can be found for Parkinson's without research on cloned embryos. It is frankly dishonest to claim that cloned embryos must be created and dismembered to obtain stem cells when similar cells can be derived from adult tissue samples. By seeking to promote cloning for medical research the UK government and scientific establishment have made us a pariah state in this field. Cloning embryos for research would not only be immoral itself, it would inevitably lead to some scientists using exactly the same techniques to bring cloned embryos to birth. We congratulate Bruno Quintavalle and the ProLife Alliance for their action in the matter." [SPUC media release, 15 November ] The European parliament has approved funding for research on human embryos who are created for in vitro fertilisation but are then found to be surplus to requirements, as well as research on existing stocks of embryonic cells. The parliament declined to fund the creation of embryos for research, reproductive cloning and research involving genetic changes which could be inherited. [Euro-Fam, 15 November ] Mrs Rosemary (Dana) Scallon MEP pointed out that embryo research was illegal in four European Union countries including Ireland. The parliament's decision went against guidelines from a parliamentary committee. Mrs Scallon said: "This EU directive opens the door to member states obtaining funding for research in which the victim will be the child embryo and I do not believe the Irish people want this." [press release by Rosemary (Dana) Scallon MEP, 14 November] Experts have told a conference in Rome that human embryos do not need to be destroyed in order to conduct stem cell research. Scientists described the "extraordinary results" from stem cells from umbilical cords, placentas and adult tissue. The conference was hosted by the Queen of Apostles Pontifical Athenaeum and organised with the Guilé Foundation, Switzerland, and Francisco de Vitoria University, Spain. [Zenit, 14 November ] The Irish Medicines Board has revoked its 18-month ban on Levonelle morning-after pills and has licensed them as contraceptives, even though they can induce abortion. [LifeSite, 14 November ] Ireland's Association of Family Planning Doctors has called for morning-after pills to be made available from pharmacies without prescription. [Unison, 15 November ] SPUC has warned that the proposed change to the Irish constitution could lead to the use of such pills since it defines abortion as taking place after implantation. A rise in the number of British women contracting ovarian cancer could be partly caused by a trend to have fewer children and to begin having them later in life. Research by the British Gynaecological Cancer Society suggests that cases of the disease have increased by 20% in England and Wales and by 25% in Scotland. The Cancer Research Campaign hopes to set up screening for ovarian cancer. [Daily Telegraph, 15 November ] It has emerged that this week's conference on abortion in Mexico on which we reported on Tuesday has been sponsored by the pro-abortion Population Council and the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of the pro-abortion International Planned Parenthood Federation), in addition to the country's National Institute of Health. [EWTN, 15 November ]

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