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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 7 February 2003

7 February 2003

7 February 2003 Around half of prenatal deaths during the last two months of pregnancy could be prevented, according to research on 1,600 such deaths which is reported in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The EuroNational survey suggests that medical staff fail to discover or treat foetal growth problems or placental bleeding. The study suggests that England has the worst prenatal care of 10 European countries. [Guardian, 7 February ] The US congress could be asked to consider a bill which would establish personhood at conception and thus overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade supreme court decision which legalised abortion. Representative Duncan Hunter of California, the bill's proponent, says the measure has a greater chance of success now that the senate is controlled by his fellow-Republicans. Commenting on the initiative, Dr Kelly Hollowell of Science Ministries Incorporated pointed out that cloning and other technologies had proved that life began at conception. [Focus on the Family, 5 February ] A 33-year-old woman undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) at the Rotunda hospital, Dublin, Ireland, has died from ovarian hyper-stimulation caused by the treatment. The National Infertility Support Group has called for couples to be more adequately warned of the dangers of IVF. [Irish Examiner, 7 February ] The South Korean government has drafted a law which would allow human cloning to treat otherwise incurable diseases. The bill is being described as a ban yet it would permit some forms of the procedure. It was recently alleged that one of the women who had been implanted with a cloned embryo by the Clonaid organisation was Korean. [Korea Herald, 7 February ] The mother of a girl conceived through IVF with anonymous donor sperm is asking a court to rule that her former partner is not her daughter's legal father. Although the man signed forms to agree to IVF for the woman with whom he was then living, his sperm could not be used for the treatment and the relationship ended before IVF produced a live birth. There is also a dispute about the man's wish to have access to the girl. The judges in the court of appeal will issue their judgement in due course. The un-identified people involved are from Merseyside, England. [BBC, 6 February ] The father of the child who was aborted as the result of an Irish supreme court ruling has failed in his appeal against a conviction for kidnap and sexual assault which occurred in 1999. Mr Sean O'Brien, 53, was convicted in 1994 after an assault on a 14-year-old girl who was at the centre of the X case under which abortion was permitted because it was said her life was threatened by the pregnancy. [RTÉ, 6 February ] The first sheep to be cloned in Australia has died unexpectedly, the cause of death is not known and the remains have been burned. The merino ewe was created in 2000 in a similar way to that used to clone a sheep in Scotland. The South Australian research and development institute does not believe that their animal was suffering from the premature ageing which afflicts its British counterpart.[Financial Times, 7 February ]

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