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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 October 2001

2 October 2001

2 October 2001 A prominent British philosopher has said that people should have the legal right to select the sex of their child using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology. Dr David McCarthy of the university of Bristol wrote in the Journal of Medical Ethics: "Defenders of the legality of sex selection are not seeking to restrict anyone's liberty, whereas opponents are." He claimed that IVF and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) could be used to allow people to have balanced families and legalisation would therefore be unlikely to have much impact on the overall sex ratio. The BBC reports that PGD has "made it possible to choose the sex of a foetus without the use of abortion", but sex selection by way of PGD means that those embryos who are found to be of the undesired sex are discarded. Medically assisted sex selection for non-medical reasons is currently prohibited by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the UK. [BBC News online, 1 October ] The families of 122 women who, it is alleged, suffered death or long-term health problems as a result of taking third generation contraceptive pills are taking three pharmaceutical companies to the High Court in London. One of the companies is Schering Healthcare which also produces the Levonelle-2 morning-after pill. This abortifacient drug, which is available from pharmacists without prescription in the UK, contains far higher levels of progesterones than are in third generation contraceptive pills. [BBC News online, 1 October ; SPUC] Virginia's abortion waiting period law went into effect yesterday. From now on, all women who request an abortion in the state other than in medical emergencies will be required to undergo counselling 24 hours in advance of the procedure. The counselling, which may be given over the telephone, must describe the risks of abortions as well as the alternatives. [The Virginian-Pilot, 1 October ] The case of who should pay for the continued care of a young man with Down's syndrome who was 'wrongfully born' has reached the supreme court of Canada. Mrs Pam Krangle claims that, had she known about the availability of an amniocentesis test to detect her son's condition, she would have had him aborted. The malpractice insurance of the doctor who failed to advise the Krangles about the test has been covering the costs of caring for Mervyn Krangle since he was born 10 years ago, but there is a dispute over whether the insurance should cover the costs of his care into adulthood. [National Post online, 1 October ] A 78-year-old Canadian man has been sentenced to five years in prison for killing his wife. Herbert Lerner asphyxiated his wife with a plastic bag because she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and maintained that the act was a mercy killing. [Pro-Life Infonet , 30 September] The Russian Orthodox Church will hold a pro-life conference in Moscow next month. Pro-life activists from across the former Soviet Union are being invited to attend. [LifeSite, 1 October ]

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