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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 15 August 2003

15 August 2003

15 August 2003 Scientists in north-east England have used human embryos to grow cells capable of reproducing themselves. Professor Alison Murdoch, whose team at Newcastle upon Tyne's Centre for Life produced the cells, thanked the couples who had given up over 100 human embryos to the programme. Paul Danon of SPUC commented: "This is not a price worth paying for therapies. We have members who are disabled or suffer from long-standing illnesses and I think I speak for all of them when I say that, if human embryos - human life - has been wasted in the development of therapies for their conditions, they would not take them." [icNewcastle, 14 August ] Australia has one of the highest teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in the developed world, according to a report in the Medical Journal of Australia, with legal abortions making up the second most common cause of hospital admission among young women. The rate of chlamydia infection among teenagers is also rising. [IPPF, 14 August ] A study published in the journal Cancer has found that women who conceive and deliver babies after being diagnosed with breast cancer are not at increased risk of mortality. The authors of the study, which involved more than 3,000 women under 45, have said that the research should not be taken as an indication of a 'pregnancy protective effect' but might help to reassure women with breast cancer that having children is unlikely to increase mortality risks. [Healthy Pages, 14 August ] The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has changed its stance to support the morning-after pill being sold without prescription, apparently through the intervention of a former nun who teaches at a Catholic school in Brisbane. The policy change has yet to be fully approved by the AMA federal council. [IPPF, 14 August ] A 28-week-old unborn baby died in a Japanese hospital during an attempt to remove a tumour from its chest. In utero surgery has been carried out in Europe and the US for nearly 20 years but it is a relatively recent development in Japan. The surgery had a 50% chance of success, whereas the baby faced an 80% chance of death without surgery. In spite of the failure, more operations on unborn babies have been approved in cases where the baby faces a high risk of death without surgery and where the operation has a reasonable chance of success. [The Japan Times, 14 August ]

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