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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 July 2004

27 July 2004

27 July 2004 A UK woman has vowed to fight a hospital's High Court bid to withdraw her baby son's life-saving treatment. Luke Winston-Jones is six months old and has Edwards Syndrome, a condition that kills the majority of sufferers within a year of birth. The Bangor, North Wales hospital where he has been treated has asked the High Court to rule on whether they are obliged to continue to treat Luke. Ruth Winston- Jones said: "As soon as Luke was diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome I just saw a complete shift in attitude from those who were treating him. They just gave up, they saw no point in treating him because they believed he was going to die... I cannot just stand by and allow my baby to die, they have all given up, but I will not." [BBC, 27 July ] The remains of 1000 unidentified babies at the heart of the Alder Hey organ-retention scandal are to be buried after being stored at a Liverpool children's hospital and the Institute of Child Health at the University of Liverpool for over two decades. Paula O'Leary, founder member of the support group Pity II said: "I am delighted that somebody has finally recognised how important it is that these children are laid to rest. I am just saddened that it has taken so long." [The Scotsman, 27 July ] A study using rats has suggested that foetal stem cells could be used to treat stroke patients, The Times of London reports. Researchers at Stanford University in California believe that stem cells could migrate to damaged parts of the brain and develop into neurones. However it is not known whether the stem cells replace the function of cells lost through injury. [The Times of London, 27 July ] Unborn babies who develop the life-threatening condition known as severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia could be saved by a new in utero operation. British, Belgian and Spanish hospitals collaborated in a trial in which a tube was inserted into the windpipe of the unborn baby. The tube trapped growth hormones inside the lungs, encouraging them to develop sufficiently to function after birth. An estimated 1 in 3000 babies is thought to suffer from the condition. Left untreated, fewer than 10% of affected babies survive. [The Times of London, 27 July ] Drop-in centres are being set up in North East Lincolnshire secondary schools to offer teenagers confidential advice on issues such as contraception, drugs and alcohol. [BBC, 26 July ] Twin babies whose surrogate mother was their biological grandmother have arrived in England after lengthy negotations between the Home Office and the British Consulate in India. Neal and Nandani Nagla's Indian grandmother is their legal parent under UK law but their biological parents, Lata and Aakash Nagla are British, meaning that the Naglas may have to adopt their own biological children in order for them to be British citizens. A Home Office spokeswoman said: "These types of cases are not common." [BBC, 26 July ] The death of an 85-year-old woman at a nursing home has led Western Australia's deputy state coroner to recommend that carers ignore advance directives endorsed by euthanasia societies. The inquest into the death of Grace Kathleen Parsons heard that the 'living will' she signed may have confused carers, but Evelyn Vicker stated at the inquest that nursing staff should be reminded that incidents such as choking must be treated as medical emergencies. [ABC, 26 July ] A man has been charged with the murder of his 10-year-old son. Andrew Wragg was arrested after his son Jacob died last Saturday and will appear in court tomorrow morning. [PA News, 27 July ] A spokesman for SPUC commented: "Reports claiming that Jacob Wragg was 'terminally ill' when he was killed suggest that this may be used to justify killing him. We will be contacting the Crown Prosecution Service to seek an assurance that such factors will not affect the handling of the case." [SPUC source] A federal judge has ruled that health care and social workers are not obliged to report underage sex to the authorities. The ruling goes against a 1982 state law stating that sex involving a minor is illegal, even if it involves two underage children. [CWNews, 26 July ] The legalisation of abortion has been approved as part of a set of guidelines by the First National Conference on Policy for Women in Brazil. [CWNews, 26 July ] The French Health Ministry has announced that the government will increase payments for abortion by 29% after pro-abortion groups claimed that abortion facilities would close because abortion was not profitable enough. Philippe Douste-Blazy the Health Minister has also signed a measure allowing the RU-486 abortion drug to be handed out by doctors. [, 26 July ] The UK Labour Party's spokeswoman for women's rights has criticised a woman MEP from Slovakia for her pro-life views after she was elected president of the European Parliament's women's committee. Mary Honeyball MEP said that Anna Zaborska MEP was "unsympathetic to the aims of our committee." Some left-wing MEPs boycotted the election. [EUPolitix, 27 July ] The European Parliament is not supposed to have competence on criminal law issues such as abortion.

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