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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 6 August 2003

6 August 2003

6 August 2003 A company set up to supply fresh human sperm and eggs via the Internet is being investigated by the Dutch authorities. There are fears that the sperm could be infertile or unsafe and the public have been warned by healthcare officials not to use the company. Marketing human sperm and eggs is illegal in the Netherlands, but Mr John Michaels, who plans to launch Baby Donors International next month claims that he is not breaking the law. [The Guardian, 6 August ] Ten babies have been born in Britain using aneuploidy screening, the Guardian reports. The technique allows IVF embryos to be screened for chromosomal abnormalities at an early stage of development and may become a standard part of IVF for older women in the future. [The Guardian, 6 August ] SPUC spokesman Anthony Ozimic commented: "Although we welcome the bringing of a new life into the world as well as successful treatments for infertility, the fatal discrimination intrinsic to this technique killed human beings who were regarded as 'genetically undesirable'.... The process of aneuploidy screening violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that children 'need special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." [SPUC Press Release, 5 August ] One of the victims of California's eugenics programme has spoken out for the first time, RecordNet reports. Charlie Follett, now 73, was 15 when he became one of 20,000 Californian men and women to be sterilised as part of a programme to weed out those considered morally, physically and mentally unfit from society. Other states have already begun considering how best to compensate sterilisation victims though many are now long dead or remain silent as the subject is still taboo. This year, state governor Gray Davis issued a general apology to the victims. [, 5 August] The New Jersey Supreme Court has upheld a 'family cap' law depriving women of benefits if they have additional children whilst receiving public assistance. New Jersey is one of 23 states to have adopted such laws which some regard as unconstitutional, as it interferes with a woman's reproductive freedom and could encourage abortion. Marie Tasy of Right to Life New Jersey, stated: "The empirical data proves that abortions increase when states fund abortion for women and impose family caps. They send a terrible message that the poor woman and her children are not valued by society." [, 6 August ]

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