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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 28 July 2003

28 July 2003

28 July 2003 The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Britain's largest provider of private abortions, has called upon the Department of Health to approve a trial of home abortions. The pilot study would involve 500 pregnant women taking abortion-inducing drugs at home rather than in a clinic as the law currently requires. The aborted foetus, recognisable as a baby by 9 weeks, would then be flushed down the lavatory. The chief executive of BPAS, Ann Furedi, described the procedure as "painful" and "unpleasant", claiming that many women become distressed as a result and would prefer to abort at home. [The Telegraph, 28 July ] Katherine Hampton, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: "This will be very painful and women should not be left alone without back-up fully available. There must surely be a grave risk to a woman if her abortion was incomplete." [The Independent, 27 July ] Christopher Reeve, the Superman star paralysed from the neck down as a result of a riding accident, is to travel to Israel tomorrow to visit Israeli research institutions, facilities for the disabled and Israelis paralysed in terrorist attacks. He is also expected to meet Ariel Sharon. Reeve has criticised US government opposition to cloning, claiming that religious conservatives "have had undue influence on the critical debate." Israel has no regulatory laws on embryonic stem cell research. [Ananova, 27 July ] The Sri Lanka Sunday Observer has reported the campaign work of the Democratic Women's Association against the continuing practice of sex selective abortion in some parts of India. The organisation is attempting to change attitudes through the publication of booklets and awareness campaigns and to expose the illegal use of ultrasound for sex selections by demonstrating outside private clinics. However, according to Jagmati, a field worker for the Democratic Women's Association, their campaigns may be simply driving the practice underground. "The doctors are now more discreet and many are convinced that they are only helping pregnant women make a choice," she said. [The Sunday Observer, 27 July ] More than 1000 IVF children gathered at Bourn Hall in Cambridge, UK, to celebrate 25 years of IVF, the Observer reports. Professor Bob Edwards, who alongside the late Patrick Steptoe, created the world's first test tube baby to survive to birth, claimed that human cloning might eventually have to be used in spite of public opposition to it. [The Observer, 27 July ] An article in today's Independent by prominent feminist and pro-abortion journalist, J. A. Brown, draws attention to the low success rate of IVF, the commercialism that drives the industry and the lack of regulation of IVF clinics. [The Independent, 28 July] The Spanish government has authorised the use of embryos left over from IVF treatment for embryonic stem cell research. Health Minister Ana Pastor told a news conference that the law still regards the purpose of the embryo to be reproductive but called the decision a respectful solution. [Reuters, 28 July ] The UK Department of health has again stated that the government has no plans to change the law on euthanasia. However, the Department of health drew a distinction between euthanasia as "an active intervention to end life" and the withdrawal of treatment either at the patient's request or because it was not considered to be in the patient's best interests. [, 28 July ] Scottish academics have claimed that the extraction of sperm from the comatose body of Diane Blood's husband was a human rights violation comparable to rape. Diane Blood won her case to use Stephen Blood's sperm to have a child even though he had never given written consent to its being extracted and used. Writing in the journal Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics, Professor Kim Swales of Strathclyde University and Dr Hugh McLachlan of Glasgow Caledonian University stated: "people should be granted a say in what happens to parts of... their bodies when [they] are used for the production of their biological offspring." Diane Blood has dismissed the conclusions as "outrageous." [Scotland on Sunday, 27 July ] An embryologist who was made redundant shortly after suffering her fourth miscarriage, has won her case against Lord Winston's famous fertility unit at Imperial College, London. Saghar Kasiri told the employment tribunal that managers had "lost patience" with her after she suffered four miscarriages in 19 months, even though misconduct by other members of staff such as arriving at work drunk was often overlooked. It is not yet known which of Kasiri's claims of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal have been successful. [Press Association, 25 July ]

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