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News, 29 July 2003

29 July 2003

29 July 2003 The Northern Ireland Family Planning Association has lodged an appeal against the results of a judicial review completed earlier this month. The review concluded that Northern Ireland health authorities were not obliged to give out regulations regarding the legal status of abortion and found that the law regarding abortion was not unclear as had been suggested by abortion advocates. [The Irish Examiner, 28 July ] Discern, the research institute for the Catholic Church in Malta, has launched a study probing the views of Maltese doctors regarding euthanasia. The study uses the same questionnaire distributed to doctors in the UK. Fr Joe Inguanez, executive director of Discern, explained: "Most Maltese specialists have trained in the UK and are therefore greatly influenced by the medical procedures adopted in the UK. The results of our study will be compared to those in the UK." [The Malta Independent, 29 July ] Israeli scientists have joined representatives from 12 countries to launch the International Stem Cell Forum, created earlier this month to promote collaboration on stem cell research with human embryos. Professor Michel Revel, Chair of the Molecular Genetics Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science and chairman of the Bioethics Advisory committee of The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, stated: "The initiative is attempting to co-ordinate and to standardise the human embryonic stem cell research that exists in different countries." However, Peter Andrews from the Centre for Stem Cell Biology at Sheffield University, expressed caution about the potential of human embryonic stem cell research. "There is a huge amount of promise in stem cell research but also a huge amount of hype," he said, "so we have to be careful what we tell people." [Israel21c.org, 29 July ] A pro-euthanasia postcard campaign will begin on the Isle of Man this week, organised by Manx 4 Death with Dignity. All households will receive a postcard petition to be sent to members of the House of Keys, calling for assisted suicide to be legalised. Hospice Care, which runs the only hospice on the island, issued a statement opposing euthanasia, stressing that its ethos was to improve the patient's quality of life and to allow the terminally ill to 'live until they die. [Isle of Man Online, 29 July ]

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