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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 11 October 2002

11 October 2002

11 October 2002 For the first time in Britain, a child has been born after being conceived from an egg which had been frozen for six months. Previously, embryos have been frozen and stored, but this is the first UK birth from a frozen egg, which was thawed and then fertilised. Medical staff in Walsall, west midlands, developed a substance which protected Mrs Helen Perry's eggs during freezing and thawing. Baby Emily Perry is now three months old. [BBC, 11 October , and SPUC] Some 60,000 people have signed an anti-euthanasia petition in response to another petition organised by the widower of Mrs Dianne Pretty who was refused assisted suicide by the European court in April. The Right to Life Association hopes to get 100,000 signatures to counter the 50,000 obtained by Mr Brian Pretty, whose petition has been presented to the UK parliament. [Total Catholic, 10 October ] The chairman of the US Catholic bishops' pro-life committee has urged the senate to pass a law which would reinforce the right of organisations and individuals who provide health care to resist government pressure to perform abortions. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua has written to senators to support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act. [Catholic News Service, 10 October ] The senate is unlikely to ratify the UN's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women this year. The agency which implements the convention puts pressure on countries to allow abortion. [CWNews on EWTN, 9 October ] A member of the team of scientists who created the first cloned mammal has warned that the poor might be exploited to obtain eggs for human cloning, in the same way that kidneys are sold. Mr Alan Colman, who now does embryo stem cell research in Singapore, thinks cloning [for birth] is inevitable but opposes it because of risks of miscarriage and developmental anomalies. [Scotsman, 10 October ] SPUC commented: "Embryo stem cell research is the driving force behind the development of cloning techniques. Mr Colman should think hard about his position." The European Commission, World Bank and World Health Organisation are supporting a $40 million, four-year programme to reduce deaths in pregnancy and childbirth in eight developing countries. It is unclear what methods will be employed by the scheme which is to be run from Aberdeen university, Scotland, and will involve governments and aid agencies. [BBC, 10 October ]

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