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News, 22 October 2004

22 October 2004

22 October 2004 Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, has said that he supports human cloning for research purposes. His comments come as two motions on cloning are considered by the legal committee of the General Assembly, one calling for a ban on all cloning, the other for a ban on 'reproductive' cloning that would leave the door open for destructive cloning for research. [RTE News, 22 October ] Christopher Reeve's widow has joined John Kerry's presidential campaign, criticising President Bush's policy of embryonic stem cell research. Kerry said on the subject: "It is wrong to tell scientists that they can't cross the frontiers of new knowledge. It is wrong morally and it is wrong economically and when I am president, we will change this policy and we will lead the world in stem cell research." [Yahoo News, 21 October ] The US Catholic Bishops' Conference launched a nationwide advertising campaign this week highlighting the advances in adult stem cell research. Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Director of Information for the Bishops' Conference Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities explained: "Stem cell research is one of the most important moral issues of our day, but it is also one of the most distorted. In the public debate, embryo-destructive research has been greatly hyped, while the proven result of the ethical adult stem cell research are very nearly ignored." [LifeSiteNews.com, 21 October ] The Florida Supreme Court has refused a request by Governor Jeb Bush to reconsider its decision to strike down a law that was keeping Terri Schiavo alive. Terri Schiavo has been at the centre of a bitter legal battle since she mysteriously collapsed in 1990 and suffered severe brain damage. Mrs Schiavo's husband Michael has had her feeding tube removed twice and claims that she would not want to be kept alive. Her parents dispute this and believe she could regain some of her faculties with therapy. [The Guardian, 22 October ] Germany's Greenpeace group has filed a notice of opposition to the German Patent Office after a patent was granted covering a cell culture method related to a process for deriving neural cells from embryonic stem cells. Christoph Then, a Greenpeace stem cell expert, said: "People who file a patent do so because they see business opportunities, but the commercial exploitation of human embryonic stem cells is banned." [The Scientist, 20 October ] A pro-abortion film depicting an underground abortionist working in 1950s London opened the 48th London Film Festival this week. Imelda Staunton, the British actress who stars in the film 'Vera Drake' claims to worry about abortion becoming illegal in the US. [Lifenews.com, 21 October ]

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