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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 14 October 2003

14 October 2003

14 October 2003 A fertility technique similar to cloning has been condemned after it was tested on five women in China, the Guardian reports. One woman became pregnant with triplets through cell nuclear transfer though it was technically not cloning because the embryo contained DNA from both parents. All three eventually died, the last at 29 weeks gestation. China banned human cloning last Friday and the US professor working in collaboration with Chinese scientists at Sun Yat-Sen medical university was warned not to conduct any such experiments in the US. [The Guardian, 14 October ] Human clones will be available to couples for £100,000, according to the fertility expert Panayiotis Zavos. On the eve of an international fertility conference, Dr Zavos claimed to be on the brink of creating the world's first cloned baby and unveiled plans to make cloning available to infertile couples as an alternative to IVF. Dr Zavos is believed to charge £35,000 for an initial consultation and tests. Surrogate mothers will be paid £20,000. Social scientist and bioethicist Tom Shakespeare described Dr Zavos' efforts as 'selfish eccentricity'. He writes: "Throughout history, children have been desired for their own sake, free to choose their own path and ignorant of their fate. Cloning is about egotism and profit, not helping parents and children." [The Scotsman, 14 October ] The murder of a pregnant woman from Texas could bring the new Texas Prenatal Protection Act into play for the first time, LifeNews reports. Christina Moore, who was three months pregnant, was found stabbed to death in her home last month. If it is proven that the baby died as a result of the stabbing, there will be two charges of homicide. 28 states have laws making the killing of an unborn child homicide. In 38 states, parents can sue for the wrongful death of an unborn child. [, 14 October ] French justice minister Dominique Perben has launched a euthanasia debate on the ministry's website, following the death of Vincent Humbert. Earlier this month, a commission was created by the French parliament to investigate assisted suicide. [Expatica, 12 October ] The Italian Minister of Health has stated his opposition to the legalisation of euthanasia, including a proposal to stop force-feeding, AGI reports. Girolamo Sirchia said at a conference in Milan between doctors and universities, "As citizen and doctor I am ever increasingly convinced that no modern society can decide upon the death of a person because this would lead to unwanted and unpredictable consequences." [Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, 14 October ] A round-the-clock vigil has begun outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo currently resides. Mrs Schiavo's feeding tube is due to be removed tomorrow and her parents and supporters have vowed to maintain their vigil until she is given proper care or she dies. In a statement, parents Bob and Mary Schindler said: "We love our daughter very much and we want her home. Over the last 13 years, Terri has laughed with us, cried with us, talked with us, and even tried to get out of her chair. The accusations that Terri is in a coma or is a 'vegetable' are a lie." Once tube feeding is removed, Terri Schiavo is expected to die within two weeks. [, 14 October ]

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