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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 29 August 2003

29 August 2003

29 August 2003 The Chinese Department of Health (DOH) has retracted a proposal to allow married people to undergo an abortion or sterilisation without the agreement of their spouses, The China Post reports. The proposed amendment to the law was withdrawn by the head of the health department, Chen Cien-Jen, amid fears that it could lead to increased family conflict and divorce. [The China Post, 28 August ] A man suffering from motor neurone disease has flown home to the UK after receiving pioneering stem cell treatment in Canada. Richard Bond's treatment, derived from umbilical cord cells, was carried out in a Vancouver hospital after trials in the US were halted by a court case. His family hopes that it will slow the progress of the disease and improve his speech but they have been warned that there is only a one percent chance that the treatment will improve his condition. [This is Taunton, 29 August ] The Interchurch Bioethics Council of New Zealand have told the health committee that a bill to regulate reproductive technology and to ban 'reproductive' cloning and commercial surrogacy, should be extended to ban other unethical scientific practices such as embryo splitting and the creation of human-animal hybrids. Council member Deborah Stevens told the committee that the prohibitions in the bill as it currently stands are inadequate. [The New Zealand Herald, 29 August ] Researchers from Melbourne's National Stem Cell Centre have transformed human embryonic stem cells into lung cells, according to Betterhumans.com. It is claimed that the work could eventually be used to treat lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis though clinical trials are still years away. "It certainly looks like we are heading in the right direction," said Richard Mollard, whose team conducted the research. [Betterhumans.com, 29 August ] Concerns have been expressed over the growing shortage of US doctors specialising in geriatric care, CNN reports. Like many developed countries, the US has a rapidly ageing population and there are expected to be 19 million Americans aged 85 and older by 2050. However, there are currently only 9000 doctors specialising in geriatric medicine and fewer than 10% of US medical schools have compulsory training in geriatric medicine. Approximately 36000 such doctors will be needed by 2030. [CNN, 29 August ]

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