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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 28 October 2004

28 October 2004

28 October 2004 The British Medical Association has called for more research on human embryos, The Guardian reports. In a written submission to the House of Commons science and technology committee, the BMA reiterated its support for embryo research, while stating that adult stem cell research was preferable to embryonic stem cell research because of the 'special status' accorded to human embryos, but that both should continue until the safety of adult stem cells was firmly established. The BMA also claimed that concerns over embryo research were due partly to public misunderstanding. [The Guardian, 27 October ] A spokesman for SPUC commented: "There is no evidence to prove that embryonic stem cell use will be safer or more effective than the use of adult stem cells which is already routinely used to treat life-threatening conditions such as leukaemia. There is not a single therapy involving embryonic stem cells that is currently in use. The BMA is surely aware of this. The BMA ought also to be aware that concerns over embryo research are based on one major issue - the fundamental human right to life whatever the stage of development." [SPUC source] A woman has had her sight partially restored using retinal cells transplanted from an aborted baby. Scientists at the University of Kentucky developed the technique and further transplants have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. One of the major concerns cited was that women may be tempted to abort their babies to provide stem cells for their own treatment or that of relatives. [The Scottish Herald, 28 October ] A member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee, Fr Bill Uren, has rejected a proposal to use hybrid rabbit-human embryos for stem cell research. Professor Alan Trounson of Monash University predicted that hybrid embryos would be in use internationally within two to four years and would overcome the need for large quantities of human eggs for cloning purposes. [Cathnews.com, 28 October ] A spokesman for the Spanish organisation Association of Abortion Victims, has criticised the Red Cross for promoting material produced by Scherings, which produces the morning after pill, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. According to Victoria Uroz, the Red Cross accepted the fact that contraceptive knowledge does not prevent unintended pregnancies but the Junior Red Cross funded a bus last year and a website that "offers totally biased information about sex." [CWNews, 26 October ] A teenager who is pregnant with conjoined twins is planning an abortion in the next few days. Calisa Springthorpe and her 46-year-old partner Gary Wilden have been told that the twin girls, who are now nearly six months gestation, will die within weeks of birth. Mr Wilden said: "I have made my decision. It is time to end all this pain and suffering. The experts all say we must terminate now and we must take their advice." [Milton Keynes Today, 28 October ] A British comedian has made a feature for BBC Newsnight about his wife's pregnancy to raise awareness about what he describes as 'the inequality in the current abortion law for babies with impairments.' Laurence Clark and his wife have cerebral palsy and whilst he does not oppose abortion, they would not consider aborting a baby on grounds of disability. Doctors have described them as 'irresponsible' for refusing prenatal screening, leading Mr Clark to comment: "I suppose such attitudes aren't surprising when, nowadays, scarcely a day goes by without a news story about assisted suicide to relieve us of our 'suffering' or doctors trying to pull the plug on yet another disabled baby." [BBC, 27 October ] Alison Davis of the disability rights groups No Less Human said: "Mr. Clark's view implies that killing is wrong only if the victim is disabled. Pro-lifers need to reach out to disabled people who hold this view, gently pointing out that all abortion discriminates against the unborn, and that it is wrong whether or not the baby has a disability." [SPUC source]

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