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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 7 January 2003

7 January 2003

7 January 2003 A British mother of four sons will travel to an undisclosed European fertility clinic this week in her bid to have a daughter. Nicola Chenery from Plymouth is spending £6,000 to conceive and select a female child using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). The procedure will involve the creation of a number of embryos in the laboratory and the screening out of those embryos who are male. Sex selection for the purposes of so-called family balancing is presently banned in the UK, but the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is conducting a public consultation on whether it should be allowed. [BBC News online, 7 January ] A pro-abortion news service has claimed that the Dutch government became the top international donor to the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 2002 by pledging a further $2.5 million in December. The additional grant brings the total amount given by the Netherlands to the UNFPA to $55 million. In all, 130 countries support the UNFPA, and in 2002 the agency was given extra grants by a number of national governments including those of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK. However, the total amount of $18.7 million in extra funding for the UNFPA in 2002 was considerably less than the $34 million of funding withheld by the US government on account of UNFPA's involvement in coercive abortion programmes. [IPPF News, 2 January] The chairman of Malaysia's National Fatwa Council has said that human cloning for research purposes would be acceptable as long as the resulting embryos were destroyed before they were 120 days old. Dr Ismail Ibrahim said that, while the extraction of stem cells from cloned embryos was permissible, cloning a human to harvest bone marrow or organs was forbidden because the clone would then be old enough to "have a complete feature as a human". Dr Ibrahim explained that the edict was consistent with the view that abortion is acceptable up to 120 days after conception. [Bernama, 7 January ] This view of the unborn is strongly disputed by others in the Muslim world. The independent scientist and journalist appointed by Clonaid to verify their claims to have produced full-term cloned babies has said that the claims could simply be part of "an elaborate hoax intended to bring publicity to the Raelian movement". Michael Guillen made his comments after the parents of the first alleged clone reportedly refused to allow DNA tests on their child. However, many experts are suspicious of Dr Guillen, who has himself been accused of "quackery". The president of the Raelians in the UK suggested that he was simply trying to prove his independence. [BBC News online, 6 January ] A study published in the US has suggested that women who have had an abortion are more likely than others to endanger the health of subsequent unborn children through substance abuse. The study was published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and was based on data from the National Pregnancy and Health Survey. It concluded that women with a prior history of abortion were twice as likely to use alcohol, five times more likely to use illicit drugs, and ten times more likely to use marijuana during their first pregnancy carried to term than women who had not had a previous abortion. Dr David Reardon, one of the report's co-authors, suggested that the reason for this was that women with an abortion history suffered unaddressed grief and guilt which rendered them less able to abstain from drugs. [Elliot Institute, 2 January; via Pro-Life Infonet ]

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