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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 25 July 2003

25 July 2003

25 July 2003 A survey in western England suggests that 70% of people favour state-funded in vitro fertilisation (IVF) for anyone who requests it. Bristol university's centre for reproductive medicine interviewed some 800 respondents. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is expected to publish new guidelines on IVF early next year. [Femail, 25 July ] John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, said: "It would be interesting to know if those interviewed were informed that, for every live IVF birth, more than 20 embryos will perish. Since IVF was legalised in Britain in 1991, some 1.2 million babies have been discarded or frozen, died during pregnancy or failed to survive freezing." Legalising euthanasia will devalue human life and suggest to the sick that their lives are worthless, according to a palliative medicine expert at Wales university's medical college. Writing in tomorrow's British Medical Journal, Professor Ilora Finlay points out that euthanasia is cheaper than care. A lethal injection can cost just one pound. She writes: "As soon as you say to patients they have a duty to die because they are using up money and resources it gives a terribly demoralising philosophy to the whole delivery of health care." Professor Finlay is a member of the House of Lords. [Western Mail on icWales, 25 July ] All infertile people could be helped to have children if scientists can create eggs and sperm from stem cells, which experiments on mice suggest may be feasible. Professor Alan Trounson of Monash institute, Australia, made the prediction yesterday at a meeting in London marking the 25th anniversary of the birth of the world's first test-tube baby. [Ananova and New Scientist , 24 July] In May we reported on how scientists in America and Japan had generated eggs and sperm from cloned mouse embryos. A husband walked free from the Victoria, Australia, supreme court after pleading guilty to helping his wife, a cancer-sufferer, commit suicide by following instructions in a book. Justice John Coldrey's voice broke with emotion as he gave Mr Alexander Maxwell an 18-month suspended jail sentence. The judge noted that Mr Maxwell was against euthanasia and acknowleged that he had done wrong, adding: "I hope that you will be able to put this sad episode behind you." Mr Maxwell played recordings of hymns as he helped Mrs Margaret Maxwell, 59, kill herself using an undisclosed method in the couple's caravan. [Herald Sun, 25 July ] Pro-abortionists in Peru have expressed qualified support for the regime of former President Alberto Fujimori which forced more than 200,000 citizens to be sterilised. Activists dislike the policies of the current government, saying they are too Catholic. The Manuela Ramos group said it did not approve of forced sterilisation but described the Fujimori policy as "excellent in terms of access and information". [Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, 24 July ]

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