News, 30 August 2002
30 August 2002
30 August 2002 Newly released data has indicated that success rates for IVF treatment in the UK are improving, but that the vast majority of embryos created through IVF still perish in the process. Statistics released by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority indicate that the success of IVF treatment, based on the percentage of live births per treatment cycle, varies widely around the country. Some clinics have achieved a success rate of 46% for women under 38, while others have only managed 10%. The overall success rate between April 2000 and March 2001 was 21.8%, or 25.1% for women under 38. [Orange Today, 30 August ] A spokesman for SPUC commented: "These statistics belie the horrendous human toll of IVF. While the majority of treatment cycles still end in failure, many of them succeed in creating numerous embryos who are never given a chance to grow and be born. The number of human beings created only to perish as part of IVF treatment represents a holocaust of massive proportions." Australia's House of Representatives has voted unanimously to ban human cloning. MPs voted yesterday by 89 to 43 in favour of splitting the current legislation to authorise destructive stem cell research into two separate bills, one to regulate destructive research and the other to ban cloning. The bill to ban cloning was then passed unanimously, while debate on the other bill was adjourned for two weeks. Supporters of the bill to authorise destructive research on embryos have voiced concerns that the decision to separate it from the provision on cloning will make its passage through the Senate less assured. [ABC News , Sydney Morning Herald and news.com.au , 30 August] A Roman Catholic bishop in Alberta, Canada has given his support to a parish priest who stirred controversy by refusing to conduct the wedding of a woman employed by Planned Parenthood, a pro-abortion organisation. Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary said that there was no "wiggle room" when it came to the abortion issue because "no Catholic can responsibly take a pro-choice stand when the choice in question involves the taking of innocent human life." Bishop Henry added that the woman could be excommunicated if she was involved in counselling anyone to have an abortion. [Canoe-wire, 28 August] A prominent American embryonic stem cell researcher has been explaining why he has decided to relocate to Cambridge in England. Dr Roger Pedersen told the Financial Times newspaper: "I don't think you know how profoundly moved I am to be in such an encouraging environment after everything I went through in the States." [Financial Times, 30 August ] The UK has some of the most permissive embryonic research regulations in the world, and is the only Western country whose parliament has passed legislation designed to sanction the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos in medical research. Prime Minister Tony Blair personally supports such research. Pro-lifers and pro-abortionists in Virginia have agreed that both houses of the state legislature will probably pass another partial-birth abortion ban next year with sufficient two-thirds majorities to override the governor's veto. An attempt to override Governor Mark R Warner's veto of a partial-birth abortion ban passed earlier this year failed in April by just three votes in the senate [see digest for 18 April ] but battle lines are now being drawn for a re-run in 2003. Retirements and other factors suggest that pro-lifers now have the votes they need. [The Washington Times, 30 August ] California's state assembly yesterday passed a bill which was passed by the senate last week to protect the privacy of abortion clinic workers and patients [see digest for 27 August ]. The assembly passed senate amendments to the bill by 55 votes to 15. [AP, via Mercury News, 29 August ] This bill is one of a series of pro-abortion measures passed by California's state legislature in recent years. Its pro-abortion agenda is at odds with many other states in the US.