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Defending life from the moment of conception

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16 December 2004

16 December 2004

16 December 2004 A city in China is introducing a policy banning late-term abortions in an attempt to curtail the number of sex selection abortions in the area. China's one-child policy has contributed to a serious gender imbalance in many parts of the country, resulting in social problems such as large numbers of men unable to marry and the exploitation of women through the sex trade. [The Guardian, 16 December ] A spokesman for SPUC commented: "If the Chinese government is serious about ending the growing gender imbalance in the population, it must end the one-child policy immediately. Human rights groups have highlighted the atrocities carried out in the name of reducing the population, which include coercive and sex selection abortion." A woman is on trial for aiding and abetting the attempted suicide of her disabled husband. Gemma Johnson allegedly helped James Edwards to take an overdose and then to hang himself, in exchange for inheriting his estate. However, Mr Edwards was found by his mother and later recovered in hospital. He claims that Ms Johnson sent him a text message before his suicide attempt saying: "Why don't you get on with it? It would make a lot of people happier" and became angry when he took too long taking the overdose. The prosecution deny that the case constitutes an attempted mercy killing, saying that "the offence was committed for personal greed." [The Times of London, 16 December ] A UK rabbi has warned that the Mental Capacity Bill may contradict Jewish law, Totally Jewish reports. Rabbi Jonathan Dove, who is a member of the Chief Rabbi's cabinet, stated: "The commandment of the preservation of human life is a central one in Jewish belief and practice. Therefore no nutrition or drink may be withdrawn from a patient." [Totally Jewish, 15 December ] The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has convened a panel of experts to monitor scientific developments in the area of embryo research and IVF. Suzi Leather, Director of HFEA said: "The panel's experience and expertise will help us identify upcoming scientific developments and provide a more thorough review of the issues that these developments could raise." [HFEA, 16 December ] An Indian court has refused a terminally ill man's request for euthanasia by omission, BBC reports. Venkatesh, who has Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy, wants to die before his organs deteriorate so that he can donate them. The Andhra Pradesh Court, in agreement with the hospital, concluded that the request would constitute euthanasia, which is against Indian law. [BBC, 15 December ] Researchers from the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology have grown heart tissue from heart cells extracted from rats. The team hope that by creating a "patch for a broken heart", it may be possible in the future to use the technique to repair cardiac damage in human patients. Dr Charmaine Griffiths, of the British Heart Foundation said: "Although it is very early days for this approach, developments of this kind using living heart cells may provide help for those with damaged heart tissue in the future." [BBC, 15 December ]A nurse has been arrested by Italian police on suspicion of killing patients in the hospital were she worked. The 34-year-old nurse allegedly injected five patients with air-filled syringes late last year. [The Scotsman, 16 December ] A march organised by Doctors for Life was held in Madrid at the weekend in response to government plans to liberalise Spain's abortion law. Over 2,000 people attended despite alleged false rumours suggesting that it had been cancelled. Dr. Juan Francisco Jimenez of Doctors for Life said: "The enthusiastic and large turnout among young people is a sign of social vitality and nothing can keep one from seeing that Spain is pro-life and not pro-death." [CWNews, 15 December ]

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