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Defending life from the moment of conception

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23 November 2004

23 November 2004

23 November 2004 Kenya's Catholic Archbishop has said that the Church will speak out against politicians who support abortion at election time. Both the Minister for Health and the President have ruled out any changes to Kenya's abortion law. Dr Patrick Mungiriria of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa said that Kenya 'cannot pass a law to kill'. [All Africa, 22 November ] A scientist from Sheffield University is trying to find a way of using human embryonic stem cells to treat deafness caused by the loss of cochlear hair cells. Dr Marcelo Rivolta was talking at a London conference organised by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. He stressed that it would be 10 or 15 years before any possible treatment resulted from his work. [BBC, 22 November ,&SPUC] Scientists at the UC Irvine Reeve-Irvine Research Centre have injected human embryonic stem cells into mice whose spinal cords had been engineered to have no protective myelin tissue. The cells migrated to the appropriate sites and formed into patches of myelin tissue around neurons. The results of the study are published in the journal Glia. [Medical News Today, 23 November ] A working group of the Medical Research Council has said that IVF babies and their mothers should have their health monitored more closely. Advisors warned that there is 'relatively weak' evidence supporting the safety of IVF procedures, 26 years after the first birth of a test-tube baby, Louise Brown. [The Guardian, 23 November ] The US National Abortion Rights Action League has chosen a 'pro-abortion Catholic' as its new president. In a press release, NARAL praised Nancy Keenan for the "strength of her personal leadership when she stood up to a public effort to excommunicate her from the Catholic Church", though the chancellor of Ms Keenan's diocese denied that this had been the case. Fr Robertson told LifeSiteNews that he believed she had 'withdrawn herself from the practice of the Catholic Faith.' [LifeSiteNews.com, 22 November ] The Vice President of the Pontifical Academy for Life has called an agreement on human cloning at the UN 'vague' and 'useless'. Bishop Elio Sgreccia attacked the agreement, put forward by Italy, as a nonbinding statement. It prohibits the creation of 'human life through processes of cloning and all research oriented to obtaining such a result,' but it is a weakened version of a total ban previously proposed by Costa Rica that was supported by 62 countries. A Belgian proposal that would have allowed cloning for research purposes, supported by 22 countries. [Zenit, 22 November ] Two Russian teenagers have been charged with the murder of a paralysed woman who allegedly asked them to end her life. Natalia Barannikova, 32, was paralysed in a car accident and, according to witnesses, had asked family and friends to help her commit suicide. Mrs Barannikova allegedly asked Marta, 14, to find someone to end her life and she eventually enlisted the help of a friend, Christina, 16. They claim that she instructed them to strangle her and they then left with jewellery she had promised for their 'services'. Sergei Ushakoy, a law-enforcement officer, said that he did not believe it to be a euthanasia case. He said: "Most likely, the woman was murdered over certain selfish needs - it can be clearly seen from the actions of the defendants. They testified about it as if it was an interesting adventure." [Pravda, 15 November ] A former actor who is now in the advanced stages of terminal cancer has called for euthanasia to be legalised. Peter Chesterfield, 50, said: "I didn't think it was possible for a human being to survive having experienced such pain." He added: "The way current legislation stands, the only way I can guarantee myself a pain free and instantaneous and clean death is to hire an expert killer to put a bullet in the back of my head." [BBC, 23 November ] Angry parents confronted the Children's Minister as she visited a school, protesting against the introduction of 'C' cards entitling teenagers to free condoms. Margaret Hodge defended the approach, claiming: "It's very important to give children the right kind of sex education." [This is Bristol, 23 November ] Paul Tully, SPUC's General Secretary commented: "Handing out contraceptives to minors, no questions asked, is not sex education, it is an incitement to have sex, and it will escalate, not curb, under-age pregnancy and abortion. Parents have every reason to be horrified at the Government's betrayal of their children."

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