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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 16 September 2003

16 September 2003

16 September 2003 Japanese scientists claim to have coaxed embryonic stem cells from mice into becoming sperm cells, the Financial Times reports. Toshiaki Noce and his team at the Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences believe that the work will aid understanding about how sperm and egg develop as well as offering "a novel approach to reproductive engineering." [, 15 September ] An American scientist claims to have created a cloned human embryo, which he intends to implant in a surrogate mother later in the year. Dr Panyiotis Zavos of the University of Kentucky also claims to have created cow-human hybrids but his work has not been published in major scientific publications and other scientists remain deeply sceptical. [The Independent, 16 September ] Scientists at a London conference have expressed hope that foetal and embryonic stem cells could be used to treat Parkinson's successfully. Professor Lindvall of the University of Lund, Sweden, said that research had already shown that stem cells taken from aborted babies can improve symptoms in people suffering from the disease. [BBC, 15 September ] However, a recent report by the Culture and Life Foundation highlighted the disastrous and irreversible side effects caused to some Parkinson's patients by treatment involving foetal cells compared with advances being made in the field of adult stem cell research. [CWNews, 4 September ] Manila's strongly pro-life Cardinal Sin has retired from active ministry. He is known for having helped to oust two presidents from office through his organisation of mass street demonstrations attended by millions of Catholics and for fighting against state population control. [LifeSite, 15 September ] SPUC national director John Smeaton said: "Cardinal Sin has been an outspoken champion of the unborn. We hope and pray that his successor will continue his work to uphold respect for life in the Philippines." [SPUC source] In a letter to US senators last week, the chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua urged the senate to work towards approving the ban on partial birth abortion and to remove an amendment expressing support for Roe v. Wade. He stated that the majority of Americans favour a ban on partial birth abortion but have been thwarted by the courts, and that the population is increasingly identifying itself as pro-life. [Zenit, 15 September ]

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