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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 23 April 2002

23 April 2002

23 April 2002 British researchers have said that "defective" or deformed cloned human embryos could be used as a source of stem cells. Professor Sir John Gurdon and colleagues at Cambridge University's Wellcome Cancer Research Institute found that abnormal cloned frog embryos yielded normal stem cells, and believe that the same could be true of abnormal human embryos. [The vast majority of clones are deformed, and die soon after they are created, long before birth.] Professor Gurdon said: "The objection in America to their use is that these embryos are potential human beings. My argument is they are not potential human beings if they are destined to die." [Reuters, via, 22 April ] A spokesman for SPUC commented: "All human beings, clones included, possess inherent dignity as members of the human family from the moment they are conceived or otherwise brought into being. Their status as human beings certainly does not depend on why or how they were brought into being, or whether or not they are healthy." It has been estimated that 150,000 couples in Greece are unable to have children because the woman has had at least one abortion. Ioannis Bodis, professor of gynaecology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, told a meeting of the Northern Greece Medical Conference that 250,000 abortions were performed in the country each year, 40,000 of which were on girls under the age of 16. [Thessaloniki, 22 April; via Pro-Life Infonet ] Infections and tissue scarring caused by the abortion procedure can cause sterility. In Russia, for example, the high abortion rate has been blamed for the fact that one in five couples are now infertile. A study carried out by a Canadian bioethics institute has revealed that the physical and psychological risks to women of abortion are much higher than most people would expect. The deVeber Institute in Toronto found that women who underwent abortions were largely unaware of the risks because they were seriously under-reported. In a book entitled "Women's Health after Abortion: The Medical and Psychological Evidence", the Institute reviewed more than 500 studies on the health risks that have been associated with abortion. These included breast cancer, pelvic infection, infertility, ectopic pregnancy and suicide. Professor Ian Gentles, one of the authors, asked: "In the absence of this knowledge, how can a women give her informed consent to an abortion?" [LifeSite, 22 April ] An opinion poll published in the USA has indicated that 63 percent of the population oppose all forms of human cloning, both for research and reproductive purposes. The survey, conducted by The Polling Company for an anti-cloning organisation, found that 60 percent of respondents were less likely to vote for a candidate who supported destructive research on cloned human embryos, compared to 21 percent who would be more likely to vote for such a candidate. [Stop Human Cloning, 22 April; via Pro-Life Infonet ] The Australian federal government has announced its intention to push for legislation allowing states to bar single women from undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. The announcement was made a day after the country's high court threw out a legal bid to overturn a ruling two years ago that a law in the state of Victoria to bar single women from conceiving through IVF was unconstitutional. [CNSNews, 23 April ; also see yesterday's news digest ] American pro-abortionists have honoured former President Bill Clinton. The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) held a luncheon in New York City yesterday to thank the president for championing their cause. Bob Jaffe, a spokesman for NARAL in New York, said: "Former President Clinton was the nation's most aggressive advocate for a woman's right to choose since the Roe decision." Laurie Hogans, director of the New York Right to Life committee, said: "[President Clinton] was a disgrace to the White House, to the country and to the American people. It is fitting that a diabolical organisation such as NARAL would honour him." [CNSNews, 22 April ]

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