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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 2 September 2003

2 September 2003

2 September 2003 A pregnant mentally disabled woman who became the centre of a court battle over disabled and foetal rights has given birth to a baby girl. The Florida woman, known only as J. D. S, became pregnant after she was raped at her group home and came to media attention when Governor Jeb Bush asked the courts to appoint a guardian for her unborn child. The request was initially unsuccessful but the governor's office is likely to continue its push for an appeal as similar cases may arise in the future. [The Guardian, 31 August ] Maternity hospitals in the Republic of Ireland have warned that a number of women have almost died travelling into the country in labour. Over the past few months, Dublin hospitals have noted a substantial rise in the number of women coming into Ireland to give birth, the majority of whom are not asylum seekers. Dr Michael Geary, Master of the Rotunda Hospital, said that all three Dublin hospitals had seen 'near mortalities' in recent months and that these women were putting their own lives and those of their babies at risk. [RTE News, 2 September ] Women are being warned to ensure that they are protected against rubella before starting a family, following a Japanese study which identified 31 cases of birth defects caused because the mother developed the disease during the early stages of pregnancy. Most UK women born before 1988 only received a single vaccine, rather than the two that are now given, meaning that some women may not be fully protected. [BBC, 1 September ] The only rubella vaccines available in the UK are produced from cell lines derived from aborted babies.[SPUC source] A Florida man is on trial, charged with murdering his girlfriend because she refused an abortion. Jennifer Peck was reported missing in October 1995 and police later found her body in the boot of a car. Police detective Greg Stout stated: "This was a poor, innocent woman who did nothing to no one. He could have just left her... and I am sure she'd be back in Oklahoma close to her family with a child. Her family feels as deprived of a grandchild as they do of missing her." A 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that homicide accounts for 20% of pregnancy-related deaths. [, 2 September ] Research published in this week's issue of the British medical journal The Lancet reveals two key discoveries in the use of adult stem cells to treat heart damage. The researchers from Cleveland Ohio found that the heart attempts to repair itself for several days after a heart attack through the release of the SDF-1 molecule and that implanting SDF-1 into the heart draws in circulating stem cells to begin repair work. Dr Marc Penn, one of the researchers, explained: "Not only are we replacing dead tissue with living cells, but it's making the body regenerate itself." Reservations have been expressed about the paper but Dr Penn believes that human trials should begin within two years. [Aberdeen News, 29 August ] The creator of Dolly the sheep is to give a series of lectures at the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, beginning with a lecture on cloning tomorrow evening. [Edinburgh Evening News, 1 September A feature published by looks at the growing trend towards low birth rates in Asia, citing the below-replacement level rates of Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. The rapidly changing demographics of these countries and the accompanying problems of an ageing population and shrinking work force are being attributed to dropping marriage rates, increased divorce, family planning programs run in collaboration with International Planned Parenthood and high abortion rates, as well as an increasingly individualistic and commercialistic mentality among the young. [, 2 September ]

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