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News, 19 November 2003

19 November 2003

19 November 2003 The European parliament will vote today on whether to lift a moratorium on EU funding for embryo research, BBC reports. Member states are divided over the issue, with Belgium and the UK permitting embryonic stem cell research and Germany and Spain banning it, and the vote is expected to be close. [BBC, 19 November ] In a press release issued yesterday, Dana Rosemary Scallon the Irish MEP warned that the Irish government had 'given the green light' for the use of Irish taxpayers' money to fund embryo research in spite of public opposition. Ms Scallon stated: "This government support of the EU Commission is both unconstitutional and totally unethical." A bill is being considered in Singapore to ban reproductive human cloning, The Scotsman reports. The bill will also require scientists to seek health ministry approval before using human stem cells. [The Scotsman, 18 November ] Scientists in Kenya have sparked angry protests from religious groups after their work on IVF reached the press. The three scientists, Dr Okello Agina, Dr Leah Kirumba and Dr A. Kibwana, are working on a project to achieve low cost IVF treatment, a project that has been condemned by Catholic, Protestant and Muslim leaders. [All Africa, 17 November ] A pro-abortion teacher who lost her job at a Catholic school in Delaware is to sue the school, claiming their actions were illegal. Michele Curay-Cramer, who claims to be a bona fide Catholic, was fired after putting her name to a pro-abortion advertisement. The diocese of Wilmington stated: "The Constitution guarantees every religious institution the right to practice and uphold the teachings of its faith, and the diocese and bishops strongly support the right of every Catholic school to ensure that its faculty members teach and uphold the doctrine of the Catholic faith." [CWNews, 18 November ] IVF treatment could increase the risk of human chimeras, according to a report in the Telegraph. Human chimeras are people made up of two genetically distinct individuals fused together in early pregnancy. Though extremely rare, they may be becoming more common because of IVF. Microchimerism, where women carry the cells of their children and vice versa, is already thought to be very common, with up to 50% of women harbouring their children's cells decades after birth. [The Telegraph, 13 November ]

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