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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 13 February 2004

13 February 2004

13 February 2004 A woman gave birth to her stepbrother after agreeing to be a surrogate for her mother and stepfather. Carole Moore, 29, used a DIY insemination kit given to her by the charity Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy, to impregnate herself with Harry Knight's sperm so as to give the couple a baby. The couple have since split up. Nuala Scarisbrick of Life described the story as 'sordid' and a form of abuse. [Femail, 13 February ] Euthanasia campaigners in Guernsey are again calling for support for their campaign to change the law. A working party was set up to investigate euthanasia last year, but pro-life campaigners are urging islanders against any change in the law. [BBC, 13 February ] Ireland's director of public prosecutions is calling for the extradition of a US minister who helped a woman to commit suicide in Dublin two years ago. George Exoo has admitted helping Rosemary Toole to die, claiming she was terminally ill. Her family said that she was suffering from acute depression. [, 13 February ] Scottish women are to be offered two ultrasound scans during pregnancy as part of new guidelines being introduced by a National Health Service watchdog. Currently, women in Glasgow and the Lothians are given one scan at 12 weeks and health care standards vary between regions. [BBC, 13 February ] The South Korean scientists who cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells have called for a global ban on so-called 'reproductive' human cloning, saying that their work was for therapeutic purposes. Bill Frist, US senate majority leader and surgeon, called the cloning breakthrough "an alarming development." He said: "To clone a human being is to move from procreation to manufacture of human life. If human beings are special, if human beings are truly sacred, then we must devote ourselves to a better world. But we must not do evil to bring about good." [Reuters, 13 February ] A US anthropologist speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has linked fertility rates with the availability of oil and gas. Virginia Abernethy attributed the baby boom of the post-war era to technological growth and the dip in the 1960s to the rise in energy prices and subsequent recession, claiming that 'the availability of energy has been a major factor in population growth' that is set to decline. [Ananova, 12 February ] Infant mortality in the US has increased for the first time in 45 years, according to new government figures. The rise has been attributed to a number of factors such as delayed motherhood and IVF. Multiple births are far more common in IVF as are the associated risks of pregnancy complications, premature and low birth weight babies. [New Scientist, 12 February ] A letter published in a UK Catholic newspaper has revealed that the new acting director-general of the BBC is a supporter of the world's leading abortion promoter, International Planned Parenthood. [The Catholic Herald, 12 February] The BBC's anti-life bias has been criticised by campaigning organisations and church groups, in particular the Panorama programme 'Sex and the Holy City' which blamed the Catholic Church's pro-life teachings for suffering and death in the developing world. SPUC's open letter to the BBC on the subject has yet to be answered. The pharmacist who refused to prescribe the morning after pill at an Eckerd pharmacy in Denton, Texas, has been fired along with two others. Joan Gallagher, the Eckerd corporation's vice president for communications stated: "A pharmacist is obliged to fill a prescription if it is a valid, legal prescription. We do not make exceptions for any moral, religious or ethical concerns with regard to filling the prescription." 45 states have laws permitting doctors to conscientiously object but as yet this clause has only been extended to pharmacists in Illinois and South Dakota. [, 12 February ] The Danish government has banned a CD-ROM made by the Danish family planning association and the national board of health for use in school sex education classes. The discs were due to be distributed next week but some of the subject matter was deemed unnecessary and unacceptable. [Ananova, 12 February ] Pro-life campaigners are planning to protest outside a Catholic college in which an abortion supporter has been invited to give a lecture. Kathleen Sebelius, who was invited to speak at the University of Saint Mary, said: "The reality is that the vast majority of views that I hold and act on, I share with the Catholic Conference, and they are comfortable with that and I am too." [, 12 February ]

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