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Defending life
from conception to natural death


9 December 2004

9 December 2004

9 December 2004 The General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association's head of science and ethics have questioned the assumption that only 'a small religious minority' oppose euthanasia. In a letter to the Guardian newspaper, Dr Beverly Malone and Dr Vivienne Nathanson stated that legalising assisted dying "threatens the nurse/doctor and patient relationship, could frighten vulnerable people and normalise the concept that some lives are not worth living." [The Guardian, 9 December ] A group of pro-life campaigners, writers and politicians have met in Sydney to discuss the need to inform women about the harmful effects of abortion. Melinda Tankard Reist who has written a book about negative abortion experiences said that nearly 80% of women who had abortions would have kept the baby under different circumstances, and said that improvements such as better child care and accommodation for women could reduce Australia's high abortion rate. [The Age, 8 December ] A terminally ill man whose living will was upheld by a court against his wife's wishes has died. Hanford L. Pinette, 73, had his ventilator removed yesterday and stopped breathing less than two hours later. His wife, Alice, said: "He was trying to breathe on his own. These people, they actually killed the man." [The Guardian, 9 December ] Two Russian teenagers who killed a paralysed woman they claimed had asked them to end her life have been found guilty as charged. Marta Shkermanova, 14, and Kristina Patrina, 17, claimed that Natalia Barannikova persuaded them to kill her in exchange for jewellery that they later pawned, but her husband accused the girls of being thieves and murderers. The girls expressed no regrets, claiming that it was 'a good deed'. [, 8 December ] Researchers at New York's State University have warned that laptops could impair male fertility, Sky News reports. A combination of the heat emitted by the machine and its impact on posture is thought to damage sperm. [Sky News, 9 December ] A haematologist has told the Australian Stem Cell Scientific Conference that it will eventually be routine for children to store their milk teeth in stem cell banks. Dr Stan Gronthos noted that the stem cells found in juvenile teeth are more versatile than either embryonic stem cells or the stem cells found in adult teeth and could be used to treat a variety of conditions. Dr Gronthos' team is currently injecting human baby tooth stem cells into rat brains to try to repair damaged tissue. [The New Zealand Herald, 4 December ]

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