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Defending life from the moment of conception

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5 November 2004

5 November 2004

5 November 2004 Scientists from the Tufts-New England Medical Centre in Boston have found that foetal cells can help to heal skin injuries in the pregnant mother. The research team used pregnant mice as experimental models and noted that foetal cells migrated to the site of small cuts, continuing to aid healing three weeks after the mouse pups had been born. Diana Bianchi who led the study said: "The foetus has a vested interest in keeping the mother healthy." [The Daily Mail, 3 November ] A South Australian senator has entered the growing abortion debate by criticising colleagues who support a change in the law. Jeannie Ferris said: "They need to understand that their personal beliefs should not interfere with the responsibility that they have as legislators." Some government MPs are thought to be lobbying to maintain the abortion law as it currently stands. However, Brendan Nelson, Education Minister and medical doctor has stated that he would consider changes. [The Australian, 4 November ] UK scientists have expressed scepticism about recent claims that the transformation of embryonic stem cells into blood cells could end the need for blood donation, BBC reports. Professor Chris Higgins, director of the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre at Hammersmith Hospital, said: "This seems only to be an incremental step forward and whether it is going to be clinically useful or not is very speculative." [BBC, 3 November ] Florida has voted to adopt a constitutional amendment requiring parents to be informed if their underage daughters are considering an abortion. The amendment was supported by 64.7% of voters. Eileen Roberts, whose daughter had a botched legal abortion in secret at the age of 14 said: "If parents are responsible for their daughter's physical and emotional consequences after the abortion, then they should have the right to know before such a life and death decision is made alone by their minor aged daughter." [Lifenews.com, 3 November ] The vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life has criticised a decision by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to allow the screening of embryos for a cancer-causing gene. During an interview with Vatican Radio, Bishop Elio Sgreccia described the decision as 'perfectly and fully negative'. He added that screening is not reliable. "It is not a screening that can be carried out with certainty," he said. "Even if it could be done, it is always a selective, negative judgement and oriented to kill, a very grave and illicit deed." [Zenit, 3 November ]

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