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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 12 February 2004

12 February 2004

12 February 2004 Researchers in South Korea have cloned a human embryo and extracted stem cells for the first time, the Independent reports. The results of the experiment will be reported in the US journal Science. Dr Rudolf Jaemisch of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge Massachusetts stressed that, though a significant breakthrough, the technique is of no practical use at present. The cloning technique does not work well, with the Seoul team cloning 30 blastocysts and extracting just one stem cell colony. [The Independent, 12 February ] A company in Sheffield has become the first to offer 3D ultrasound scans to couples for non-diagnostic purposes. New technology allows parents to see detailed three-dimensional pictures of the unborn baby including facial expressions and movements. [Yorkshire Post, 12 February ] A group of men whose frozen sperm may have been lost as a result of a faulty freezer at a hospital sperm bank, are to sue for compensation. They demand that the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh accept liability and are also critical of the hospital's treatment of them. One of the men, Mark Morrison, said that the hospital had taken eight months to tell him about the fault and that he has been unable to access his samples to determine whether or not they are undamaged. [The Herald, 12 February ] Doctors in the UK have published a report linking smoking with infertility, miscarriage and cancer. Vivienne Nathanson, head of the British Medical Association's science and ethics, supported the report's findings. [The Guardian, 12 February ] John Paul II has spoken out against euthanasia during a general audience to mark the World Day of the Suffering. He said: Every human being, including he or she who is ill or suffering, is a great gift to the Church and to humanity." [AGI, 11 February ] A Queensland MP has accused the abortion lobby of trying to unseat him, Catholic News reports. Mr Ronan Lee, a Catholic who is outspoken on life issues, is still expected to win in spite of what he said was a "concerted campaign" against him by the Coalition to Legalise Abortion. [, 12 February ] Protesters confronted John Kerry, the pro-abortion Catholic Democrat presidential candidate, yesterday at a campaign event near Washington. American Life League's spokesman Joseph R Giganti said: "No matter how he tries to spin it, with the tired old mantra that he is 'personally pro-life, but publicly for choice,' it does not change the simple fact that you cannot be a Catholic in good standing and pro-abortion." [WorldNetDaily, 11 February ] The South Dakota house has passed a bill that would outlaw abortion under most circumstances. Even though the bill was passed 54-15, opponents have said that it will be overruled by the courts if it becomes law because of previous supreme court decisions. [The Miami Herald, 10 February ] The Italian parliament has given final approval to a new law restricting IVF and cloning, Reuters reports. Under the new law, the use of donor gametes, surrogate mothers and embryo freezing is banned and IVF has been restricted to stable heterosexual couples. Embryo research and cloning is illegal. [Reuters, 10 February ]

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