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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 January 2004

27 January 2004

27 January 2004 Researchers from Penn State University have found that mice cultured in a laboratory have a poorer memory and increased levels of anxiety than mice conceived naturally. It is too early to determine whether the same risks apply to human IVF embryos but it has been suggested that the time between fertilisation and implantation should be minimised to reduce the amount of time an embryo is left in culture. [BBC, 27 January ] A study by Swedish doctors claims to have found no link between abortion and breast cancer, BBC reports. Christine Fogg, joint chief executive of Breast Cancer Care, responded to the study by stating: "We want to reassure women that there is no proven link between abortion and the risk of breast cancer and that age remains the strongest risk factor for breast cancer." Professor Joel Brind of New York's City University, will be speaking to MPs on Wednesday about his findings that do suggest a link. [BBC, 26 January ] Meanwhile, the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer has welcomed the move by three British MPs to investigate the possible link between abortion and breast cancer. [Abortion-Breast Cancer News, 26 January ] An Atlanta appeals court has ruled that a doctor did not violate federal law when he had a woman restrained during an abortion after she demanded that he stop the procedure. Dr William Egherman of the Aware Woman Center for Choice argued that the woman, known only as Jane Roe II, was held down in order to be medically stabilised after developing serious complications. She was eventually transferred to a hospital emergency room to be treated for a perforated uterus and colon laceration. An appeal is expected. [The Miami Herald, 26 January ] A study conducted at Southampton general hospital has found that women undergoing slow labour need fewer drugs and suffer less pain when they use a birthing pool. The results, published in the online edition of the British Medical Journal, have led to calls for more maternity units to offer the option to women. [The Guardian, 26 January ] The legality of so-called designer babies is to be settled in Britain's House of Lords. The case arose after Shahana and Raj Hashmi were granted permission by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to select an embryo of the same tissue type as their critically ill son. A legal challenge was defeated at appeal. [Reuters, 26 January ] US and Japanese scientists have created genetically modified sperm in Zebrafish, Metro reports. It is claimed that the breakthrough could lead to the creation of genetically modified animals for use in the study of human diseases and to the eventual elimination of the genes responsible for conditions such as cystic fibrosis. The experiment has been condemned for disregarding the rights of the disabled. Paul Tully of SPUC reflected that it 'would create a generation according to our own criteria of what is good and correct.' [Metro, 27 January]

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