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Defending life from the moment of conception

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1 November 2004

1 November 2004

1 November 2004 Scientists in the UK have been permitted to screen out and destroy IVF embryos carrying the bowel cancer gene. Paul Serhal of University College Hospital in London is applying for permission to screen for breast cancer and retinoblastoma. Alistair Kent of the Genetic Interest Group, described Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis as 'a human and sensible use of technology for people who find themselves carrying unpleasant genetic diseases.' Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics commented: "We are not thinking about curing the disease, but about eliminating the carrier. It is pretty shoddy medicine." [The Times of London, 1 November ] A pilot scheme by the Greater Glasgow National Health Service is to allow pharmacies to give underage girls the morning after pill without prescription. The scheme has been criticised by parents' groups, the Catholic Church and the Scottish branch of the Muslim Association of Great Britain. Eileen McCloy of Not With My Child said: "This pill has never been tested on anyone under the age of 16 and we don't know what the long-term effects will be on their future fertility. Also, it is taking away parents' ability to protect their children." [The Scottish Herald, 1 November ] Scientists from the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute are using embryonic stem cells to try to understand the development of blood cells. Dan Kaufman the lead researcher said that early findings offer the possibility of potential future therapies, such as the use of embryonic stem cells to create a source for bone marrow transplants. [Medical News Today, 30 October ] The Spanish Government has permitted embryonic stem cell research, Reuters reports. The previous government passed a law allowing embryonic stem cell research under limited circumstances but the law was never put into effect. The new law will allow research on 'spare' IVF embryos and lifts previous limits on the number of IVF embryos that can be created at any one time. [Reuters, 29 October ] The New Zealand parliament is to vote this week on whether or not to make parental notification a legal requirement for abortion on underage girls. The Care for Children Bill with the proposed amendment will be a free vote. [tynz.co.nz, 1 November ] A mother has begun a protest against the possibility of children as young as 11 being given free access to condoms and the morning after pill. Julie Kosmala plans to make a complaint to her children's school and the Local Education Authority , but a spokesman from the LEA stated that the school was simply following national guidelines on compulsory sex education. The distribution of condom cards is a local scheme. [This is Somerset, 29 October ]

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