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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 1 December 2003

1 December 2003

1 December 2003 French lawmakers have approved an amendment that grants the unborn child protection from death caused by negligence or recklessness. Gisele Halimi, a women's rights lawyer, condemned the amendment, claiming that the lawmakers were "introducing into our law a new concept that gives foetuses a legal personality." However, Jacque Barrot, parliamentary leader of the ruling UMP party stated: "It is regrettable that this amendment, which sets out to improve the remedy of an injustice, should have provoked such a senseless quarrel." [Yahoo News, 28 November ] Scientists from the UK biotech company TriStem claim that they have discovered a way of turning white blood cells into a 'stem-cell-like state', according to a report in Bioedge. The techniques, which could be used to treat tissue damage caused by illness or accident, have been published in a peer-review journal but scientists have asked for further proof. [Bioedge, 26 November ] Two people have been sentenced to death and many others jailed after being convicted of baby smuggling by a Chinese court. The smuggling network sold 118 babies, all but one of them girls, who were drugged and carried across country in bags before being sold for up to £250. China's one-child policy was cited as a major reason for the smuggling. [Reuters, 30 November ] Joanna Jepson has won the first stage in her attempt to bring a legal challenge over an abortion carried out on a baby with cleft palate, BBC reports. Rev. Jepson now has the High Court's permission to take the West Mercia police to court for refusing to prosecute those responsible. [BBC, 1 December ] The head of the Catholic hierarchy's Committee on European Affairs has called Portugal's compromise measure on EU funding for embryo research ethically unacceptable but 'probably the best to be expected' politically. The compromise would restrict EU funding to research on existing stem cell lines rather than destroying human embryos for research purposes. Bishop Joe Duffy also stated that Catholic hospitals and agencies that do not perform abortions in the developing world should not be excluded EU funding. [Irish Independent, 29 November ]

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