News, 12 July 2002
12 July 2002
12 July 2002 President Bush's bioethics panel has recommended a total ban on human cloning for live birth, with a majority calling for a four-year moratorium on cloning for research. The panel's chairman said a temporary ban would allow for debate on the issue. Seven of the committee's eighteen members wanted cloning for research to be permitted immediately. Like the panel, US senators are divided on the matter. [Zenit and Washington Post , 11 July] Eggs, sperm and embryos could be identified with barcodes to help avoid mistakes in in vitro fertilisation (IVF). The Embryoguard system is to be clinically trialled in the hope that it will be introduced in Europe and America next year. [BBC, 11 July ] Barcodes would presumably appear on containers holding eggs, sperm and embryos. On Monday we reported on how a woman who had undergone IVF had given birth to twins who could not have been hers. A committee of the US House of Representatives has voted along party lines to pass a bill to ban partial birth abortion. The measure also needs approval by the house's judiciary committee, the full house, the senate and President Bush. While Mr Bush would sign the bill, it is unclear if Senator Tom Daschle, the senate leader, will let it through. President Clinton vetoed two similar bills. [LifeSite, 11 July ] An anti-euthanasia group has repeated its request to Canadian authorities to use the law to stop the supply of bags with which people would commit suicide. No response has been received from police since last year when the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition sent them details of Right to Die's "Exit Bags" with a request for action. The coalition has also sent MPs and law officers copies of a video it made about the bags. [LifeSite, 11 July ] A drug which increases blood flow through the lungs could help premature babies survive. Tests at Duke University, North Carolina, suggest that O-nitrosoethanol can relieve potentially fatal persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborn children. [BBC, 12 July ] The lungs are the last organs to be fully formed. Fertility clinics could be seeking to boost their success rates by implanting too many embryos, choosing younger patients and recommending un-necessary treatment. New Scientist magazine reports claims by Mr Jacques Cohen, director of St Barnabas' institute, New Jersey, that the clinics use multiple implantation to achieve high rankings in tables showing successful in vitro fertilisation. The magazine describes how multiple pregnancies are riskier for mothers and babies, though some parents welcome the prospect of twins as a way of having a small family quickly. [LifeSite, 11 July ] The Catholic church in Scotland has criticised the provision of abortifacient morning-after pills to participants in a music festival this weekend. A spokesman described the initiative at T in the Park in Kinross, Perthshire, as cashing in on vulnerable people. Schering Health Care will use leaflets to promote their Levonelle morning-after pills at the event. [BBC, 12 July ] SPUC has welcomed state paternity benefits, which British fathers will receive from next April [BBC, 11 July ], but wants more focus on care in pregnancy. Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, said: "We welcome this move to enable fathers to be more involved with their newborn children. However, it is far more critical that fathers are encouraged to support expectant mothers in the early stages of pregnancy, if we are to help avert abortions which continue at around 500 per day in Britain."