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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 3 June 2004

3 June 2004

3 June 2004 Bulgaria's parliament has voted overwhelmingly against the legalisation of euthanasia. 93 out of 107 MPs voted against the bill after a week of parliamentary debate. [Novinite, 2 June ] Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Centre have converted bone marrow stem cells into liver cells by exposing them to damaged liver tissue. During the experiments on mice, the cells converted rather than fusing with existing liver cells and helped restore liver function within two to seven days. This technique could eventually be used to treat conditions such as diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and heart disease, though further experiments will be necessary before trials can begin on humans. [Medical News Today, 2 June ] The Netherlands is facing a shortage of sperm donors as a result of the new law ending donor anonymity. Dutch children born through sperm donation have the right to find out their father's identity when they are 16 and centres are banned from taking anonymous deposits. The number of men willing to donate has subsequently declined and some women are reportedly going to Belgian fertility clinics to bypass growing waiting lists. [BBC, 2 June ] The Royal College of Midwives has come out in support of the Northern Ireland Family Planning Association's High Court appeal. Breedagh Hughes, the board secretary of the Royal College, claimed that lack of clarification meant that most abortions carried out in Northern Ireland were illegal. The FPA are attempting to force the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) to issue guidelines on when abortions can be legally performed, claiming that the law is currently unclear. The court's decision is expected later in the year. [Nursing Standard, 2 June ] Liam Gibson of SPUC said: "Both Breedagh Hughes and the FPA have admitted that the law is not unclear. Their intention is to discredit the law as it stands and to liberalise it." [SPUC source]

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