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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 14 June 2004

14 June 2004

14 June 2004 John Kerry has used the death of Ronald Reagan to call for a relaxation of laws restricting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Kerry said that Nancy Reagan "told the world that Alzheimer's had taken her own husband to a distant place, and then she stood up to help find a breakthrough that someday will spare other husbands, wives, children and parents from the same kind of heartache." Observers have pointed out that embryonic stem cells have caused catastrophic side effects in some patients and have yet to provide any medical benefits. [, 13 June ] An article by Ronald Reagan's national security adviser and secretary of the interior has highlighted the irony of Reagan's death being used to forward the cause of embryonic stem cell research. William P. Clark issued a reminder in the New York Times that Ronald Reagan believed in "respect for the sacred value of human life", spoke against abortion and opposed federal funding of embryo research. Mr Clark ends by warning: "Those who would trade on Ronald Reagan's legacy should first consider his own words." [New York Times, 11 June ] A 22-year-old woman from Warsaw has accused her boyfriend of tricking her into having an abortion without her knowledge or consent. The 22-year-old claims that her boyfriend persuaded her to change doctor and go to a hospital where she believed she was to have a minor operation not an abortion. The local Prosecutor's Office is investigating the case. [Warsaw Business Journal, 11 June ] The leader of the Canadian political party Bloc Quebecois has said that he will bring down a Conservative minority government if it attempts to ban abortion. Gilles Duceppe claimed that other parties would join him, though a Conservative spokesman responded by saying that the party's official position was that 'the government should not legislate against a woman's right to choose.' [CTV, 13 June ] Spain's Socialist government has announced proposals to legalise abortion on demand in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Currently, abortion is permitted under Spanish law in cases of rape, disability or an alleged danger to the physical or mental health of the mother. [Mercury News, 13 June ] Scientists from Newcastle University are seeking approval for the first human cloning experiment in the UK. Dr Miodraq Stojkovic plans to create dozens of cloned human embryos for diabetes research. He said: "Our intention is not to create cloned humans, but to save lives." The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority will consider the application but is said to be supportive of the proposed research. Anne Widdecombe MP described the situation as "the start of a slippery slope." [The Observer, 13 June ]

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