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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 28 July 2004

28 July 2004

28 July 2004 One of Ronald Reagan's sons has delivered a speech in support of embryonic stem cell research at the Democrat Convention, The Guardian reports. Ron Reagan spoke of embryonic stem cells as the key to "what may be the greatest medical breakthroughs in our or in any lifetime". He accused some opponents of ESC research of "just grinding a political axe", adding: "It does not follow that the theology of a few should be allowed to forestall the health and well-being of the many." [The Guardian, 28 July ] The text of Ron Reagan's speech can be viewed here . In response to the speech, The Centre for Bioethics and Human Dignity stated: "History is littered with misguided attempts to relieve suffering by cutting ethical corners. All that Ron Reagan advocated can be achieved through adult stem cell research. But he amazingly never mentioned adult stem cells." Daniel McConchie, Director of Public Policy at the centre pointed out that 45 diseases are currently being treated using adult stem cells, with new treatments pending, whereas embryonic stem cells are currently not being used to treat a single condition. [The Centre for Bioethics and Human Dignity, 27 July ] The late Ronald Reagan's other son Michael opposes embryo research. In an article entitled I'm With My Dad on Stem Cell Research, he countered claims by the media that the Reagan 'family' supports embryo research, stating: "the truth is that two members of the family have been long time foes of this process of manufacturing human beings - my dad, Ronald Reagan during his lifetime, and me." [, 24 June ] A five-year-old boy suffering from Diamond Blackfan Anaemia has received a stem cell transplant from his 'designer baby' brother. Michelle and Jayson Whitaker travelled to the US to create a baby with the same tissue type as their son Charlie, creating nine embryos of which one was selected for implantation. [The Telegraph, 28 July ] A London barrister has drawn attention to the dangers of the Mental Capacity Bill in a letter to a UK newspaper. James Bogle expressed particular concern about an aspect of the Bill that allows non-medical third parties to compel doctors to withdraw or withhold treatment and nutrition to end a patient's life. He states: "To allow a non-medical proxy to require them to do so [take life] - and with no opt-out or conscience clause for the doctors - is a radical departure from medical ethics and endangers us all." [The Telegraph, 28 July ] The North West Wales NHS Trust has postponed an application to the High Court over the treatment of a six-month-old baby. Ruth Winston-Jones accused the Bangor hospital involved of 'playing God' after they applied to the court to end her son's treatment. Luke Winston-Jones has Edwards Syndrome and has been at the hospital for four months. A spokesman for the hospital trust said that the application has been postponed for the moment and claimed 'to have Luke's best interests at heart'. [BBC, 27 July ] The Nicaraguan Deputy Jamileth Bonilla of the ruling Liberal Constitutional Party has said that the party will attempt to close a legislative loophole that allows some 'therapeutic' abortion. The announcement comes after feminist groups used the case of a nine-year-old rape victim who underwent an illegal abortion as part of their campaign for legal abortion. [, 27 July ]

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