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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 22 September 2004

22 September 2004

22 September 2004 A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has found that nearly one third of pregnant women are prescribed drugs not known to be safe during pregnancy and five percent are prescribed drugs that are known to put the unborn child at risk. Dr Susan Andrade of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and her team concluded that the study "highlights the importance of the need to understand the effects of these medications" on pregnant women and the unborn. [Medical News Today, 22 September ] The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has apparently scrapped plans to increase embryo licence fees from £200 to £6000 to cover the cost of regulation. The Department of Health has said that it will allow the HFEA to subsidise costs, cutting fees to £750 for large projects using human embryos and £500 for smaller ones. The plans have yet to be officially approved but are expected to go through. [The Scientist, 21 September ] Attempts to overturn Italy's fertility laws are growing after a small political party said that it was close to collecting the half a million signatures needed to call for a referendum. Italy's laws ban gamete donation and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, and limit the number of embryos that can be created to a maximum of three, all of which must be implanted into the womb to prevent embryo wastage. The issue has divided both the ruling coalition and opposition parties, with Romano Prodi, head of the centre-left Olive Tree Alliance warning that a referendum would 'tear the country apart.' [Reuters, 21 September ] An economist at Scotland's Stirling University has warned that the country faces a demographic disaster as a result of an ageing population and a 'birth dearth'. Professor Robert Wright said that 'cracks are starting to show' and that companies may start relocating in order to secure a stable workforce. The Scottish birth rate peaked at 3.1 in 1964 and is now well below replacement level at less than 1.5. [The Scottish Herald, 21 September ] Researchers have discovered that women who experience high stress levels during pregnancy are significantly more likely to have ambidextrous or 'mixed handed' children. The study, conducted by Professor Vivette Glover from Imperial College, London, analysed the data of more than 7,400 mothers and children. Professor Glover found that high stress levels 18 weeks into pregnancy were associated with a 20-30% rise in ambidextrousness. Ambidextrous children are statistically more likely to develop problems such as autism, dyslexia and hyperactivity. [The Guardian, 19 September ] Archbishop Pastor Cuquejo of Asuncion, Paraguay, has urged young people to defend life, saying: "Life is a value which we should promote and you are the ones who should defend this immense gift of God." [CWNews, 21 September ] President Bush has urged UN members to support a ban on all forms of human cloning. President Bush voiced support for a resolution sponsored by Costa Rica calling for a ban, stating: "Because we believe in human dignity, we should take seriously the protection of life from exploitation under any pretext." Sichan Siv, the US representative to the UN Economic and Social Council said that over 60 countries support the cloning ban proposal, but a smaller group led by the UK want to ban only reproductive cloning. [, 21 September ] A Kentucky magazine has created a line of 'I Love Abortion' merchandise, including a baby's bib and an infant-size t-shirt, as a joke about the abortion issue. Scott Richter, the magazine's founder, defended the move but admitted that he would not joke about subjects such as the Holocaust or slavery. [, 21 September ]

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