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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 9 June 2004

9 June 2004

9 June 2004 The official post mortem report of Nancy Crick, the Australian euthanasia campaigner, has confirmed that she was not suffering from cancer at the time she committed suicide. The 69-year-old claimed that she was terminally ill and kept an internet diary chronicling her suicide plans. Witnesses stated that Mrs Crick drank a lethal cocktail, which was confirmed by the post mortem. [News.com.au, 9 June ] A Canadian MP has attracted criticism during the Federal Election Campaign by comparing abortion to terrorism. Cheryl Gallant is quoted as saying that there is no difference between abortion and the killing of Nicholas Berg in Iraq. Stephen Harper, the Conservative leader, said: "Cheryl Gallant is a very strong pro-life MP, and this is the rhetoric that the pro-life movement often uses. It's their business. I don't think it's particularly effective in changing public opinion." Mr Harper said that he would allow a free vote on abortion. [CFRA and Lifenews.com, 8 June ] A US biotechnology conference has been told that embryonic stem cell research is gaining support in spite of restrictions on federal funding, with states stepping in to fill the gap. Californian voters will be asked later in the year to approve $3 billion worth of embryonic stem cell research over a decade, which would exceed the programmes of both the UK and Australia. [Financial Times, 9 June ] A Chinese neurosurgeon is using cells taken from aborted babies to treat spinal cord injuries. Dr Huang Hongyun from Beijing has performed nearly 450 transplants, which it is claimed restores limited sensation and movement to paraplegic patients, such as the ability to hold an object. Scientists in Australia and Portugal are reporting success using the same cells, olfactory ensheathing glial cells, but they are extracting them from the lining of the patient's nose rather than from aborted babies. Critics have expressed concerns about Huang's clinical use of the procedure without first carrying out trials to ensure safety. [Belleville.com, 7 June ] The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has moved to prevent the accidental loss of human embryos, sperm and eggs, BBC reports. The move follows a series of incidents in which sperm deposits were lost due to inadequate monitoring of temperature levels in storage facilities. By June 2005, all UK fertility clinics will have to provide alarms and monitoring systems on storage vessels, emergency procedures and staff on call out-of-hours. [BBC, 8 June ] A couple from Northern Ireland are applying to create a designer baby to provide a tissue match for their sick son, Joshua. Mohammed Taranissi, a UK fertility specialist, has said that he will challenge the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the high court for the right to create the baby for Joshua Fletcher, who suffers from the blood disorder Diamond Blackfan Anaemia. The HFEA is currently reviewing its policy in this area. [The Belfast Telegraph, 8 June ] A pro-life campaigner from Northern Ireland has criticised her Euro election candidates over their parties' stance on abortion. Jennifer Barber attacked the SDLP for 'gutless fence sitting' and Sinn Fein for actively supporting abortion. Martin Morgan, the SDLP candidate said that his party is "100% pro-life" even though it supports the Family Planning Association and the Brook Advisory Centre. Bairbre de Brun, the Sinn Fein candidate, said that her party accepts abortion "where the woman's physical or mental health is endangered and, in cases of rape or sexual abuse." [Derry Journal, 8 June ]

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