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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 13 August 2003

13 August 2003

13 August 2003 Scientists at King's College, London, have grown human embryonic stem cells from an IVF embryo for the first time in the UK. Researchers claim that embryonic stem cells will eventually provide revolutionary treatments for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's but pro-life groups have pointed out that the majority of medical advances are coming from adult stem cell research. [BBC, 13 August ] SPUC political secretary Anthony Ozimic said: "The embryonic child from whom the stem cell line was developed had been handed over by his or her parents for experimentation after they had finished IVF treatment. Ethically this is no different to parents handing over a child into slavery. It is clear that IVF has led not only to the destruction, but also to the exploitation, of newly conceived human life. One of the ways pro-lifers can take action against destructive embryo research is by telling their friends, colleagues and relatives that, while great sympathy must be shown to infertile couples, IVF is wrong." [SPUC source, 13 August] The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority admitted last year that it granted a secret licence to Edinburgh University scientist Austin Smith to carry out embryonic stem cell research as early as 1997, 4 years before Parliament approved such experiments. [LifeSite, 11 December 2002 ] The US President's Council on Bioethics met recently to discuss working papers suggesting that IVF should be federally regulated. At present, the production of human embryos through IVF, their destruction or use in scientific experimentation, is not subject to any federal regulation, nor is there any oversight of egg donation, surrogate mothers or IVF children. Proposals to regulate IVF has caused debate among pro-lifers, some of whom see regulation as a sign of approval, whilst others believe that regulation of an objectionable practice may be preferable to the current situation. [Catholic World News, 13 August ] Minnesota has become the 4th US state to take advantage of new federal rules allowing states to cover pregnant women and unborn babies under state health insurance programs. Planned Parenthood has criticised the move as "a threat to women's right to choose." [EWTN, 11 August ]

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