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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 19 September 2003

19 September 2003

19 September 2003 Australia is requiring pharmaceutical companies to label products developed or tested with human embryonic stem cells, allowing those with moral objections to boycott the products. Dr David van Gend, the medical spokesman for Do No Harm, said: "it was only proper that patients and doctors have some way of knowing so that, where possible, they can avoid and if need be boycott such medications." [CNSNews, 18 September ] A report from the Office for National Statistics has found that in the last year, 5% of women under 50 used the morning after pill once, 1% used it twice and 1% used it more often. The survey was made up of 5,129 adults interviewed between June 2002 and March 2003. [IcWales, 18 September ] Former health minister, Susan Deacon, criticised the Scottish executive yesterday for deciding against making the morning after pill available in schools before the publication of proposals by experts. During a debate on improving health in Scotland, Ms Deacon welcomed the small reduction in teenage pregnancies, but said that the 10,000 a year estimated figure was "still far too high." [The Herald, 19 September ] A widow who had two children using her dead husband's sperm has won the right to name her husband on the children's birth certificates. Diane Blood, who conceived two children with sperm extracted from her comatose husband before he died of meningitis, argued that the law banning her from registering her dead husband as the children's father breached their human rights. The bill that went through the House of Lords yesterday amends the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act under which a man is not considered a child's legal father if the child is conceived from frozen sperm after the man's death. [The Guardian, 19 September ] The US is supporting an effort by Costa Rica to achieve a total UN ban on all forms of human cloning. Last year, the Bush administration opposed the coalition of countries led by France and Germany who sought a ban that would allow 'therapeutic' cloning. The UN is scheduled to debate Costa Rica's proposal from September 29 to October 3, voting in late October. [, 18 September ] A Florida judge has ruled that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube must be removed on 15 October. Her parents are preparing a final federal appeal against the decision. A spokeswoman for the family, Pamela Hennessy, commented: "They wanted the chance to try to teach her to eat for herself, but the judge refused. It's frightening that he has such power over this wonderful woman's life." [The Guardian, 19 September ] The Labour safe seat of Brent East has been lost to a 29-year-old Liberal Democrat, the BBC reports. Sarah Teather has acted as an advisor on 'controversial' aspects of science and evaluated public policies across Europe. [BBC, 19 September ] SPUC supporters in Brent East reported that, in spite of being a self-professed Catholic, Ms Teather expressed support for embryo research and disappointment that the Church continued to emphasise that choosing abortion is morally wrong. [SPUC source]

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