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News, 7 May 2004

7 May 2004

7 May 2004 The US Food and Drug Administration has decided against allowing the morning after pill to be sold over the counter, Ample reports. Critics have accused the FDA of being swayed by political pressure but the FDA said that there was not enough evidence presented to conclude that young women could use the Plan B pill safely. [, 7 May ] A Florida court has overturned 'Terri's law', which allowed Governor Jeb Bush to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, Reuters reports. Terri Schiavo, who has been in a coma-like state since her mysterious collapse in 1990, is at the centre of a bitter legal dispute between her husband, who claims she would not want to be kept alive in such a condition, and her parents, who believe she should be given food and fluids and that her condition could improve with therapy. It is not yet clear whether the feeding tube will be removed once again. [Reuters, 6 May ] A report in Medical News Today has expressed doubt over whether there is any evidence that adult stem cells can be used to form other cells. The article comes after a number of studies purported to provide conclusive evidence that blood stem cells cannot be used to create new heart muscle cells. [Medical News Today, 7 May ] Parents, teachers and a number of c-list celebrities celebrated the return of a teenage 'sexual health' bus to Enfield, UK, last weekend. The 4YP bus offers information and advice on sex to 11-18 year-olds as part of a local strategy to reduce teenage pregnancies. [Enfield and Haringey Independent, 6 May ] Spain's new socialist government has dropped lawsuits over an Andalusian stem cell bank, which the previous government had said was unconstitutional. The legal battle began after the Spanish Parliament approved a law which allowed research on 'spare' IVF embryos and which contemplated the establishment of an embryonic stem cell bank. When the Andalusian state government approved its own law and the creation of its own bank, the central government filed a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court. Jesus Avila, director of the Madrid molecular biology centre, said he hoped the change would mean that "the scientific features will be discussed in a scientific rather than in a political environment, where the scientists will discuss on facts but not on political thoughts." [, 6 May ] A pro-life crisis pregnancy centre in Pennsylvania has just celebrated receiving its 10,000th call, The government-funded programme Real Alternatives offers telephone counselling followed by counselling in the woman's local area throughout the pregnancy and for a year afterwards. Over 85,000 women have been helped by the Pennsylvania programme since 1995 and led officials in other states to consider similar programmes. [, 6 May ] A woman has appealed to the US Supreme Court after losing her case against an abortionist she claims subjected her to a forced abortion. The woman, known as Jane Roe II, claims that a doctor had her restrained during an unsuccessful abortion, even though she demanded repeatedly that he stop and allow her to leave. He allegedly had her held down whilst he completed the abortion, perforated her uterus and removed part of her intestines. Jean Sapp, director of the Counsellor Corps, described forced and non-consensual abortion as "our country's blackest unspoken secret." [LifeSiteNews, 6 May ]

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