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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 3 September 2004

3 September 2004

3 September 2004 A study by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society claims that half of those surveyed would consider travelling abroad for assisted suicide if they became terminally ill. The study was published as the VES handed over a petition containing 80,000 signatures to a House of Lords committee investigating euthanasia laws. A House of Lords Select Committee will begin examining the Joffe Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill next week. [The Telegraph, 2 September ] The Guardian newspaper has run a feature detailing the work of the Swiss Dignitas clinic in helping patients to kill themselves. [The Guardian, 2 September ] Singapore has banned so-called 'reproductive' cloning but permitting 'therapeutic' cloning for research purposes, Reuters reports. Singapore is a growing scientific centre with lax research rules and 15 biotech companies pledging an investment of $1.8 billion into life sciences by 2010. Some 30 countries have laws regulating cloning with about half banning all forms of human cloning. [Reuters, 2 September ] Adult stem cell transplants could one day be used to grow new hair and skin to treat baldness and burn victims, Yahoo News reports. Research conducted at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Rockefeller University in New York found that stem cells taken from the hair follicles of mice and then transplanted onto the backs of bald mice resulted in the growth of new skin and hair. Elaine Fuchs, who led the study said: "We've identified cells within skin that bear all the characteristics of true stem cells - the ability for self-renewal and the multipotency required to differentiate into all lineages of epidermis and hair." [Yahoo News, 3 September ] The Dutch Foreign Minister has asked for the Dutch abortion boat to be allowed to enter Portuguese territorial waters and take Portuguese women on board, Expatica reports. Portuguese naval vessels are currently monitoring the area. Antonio Monteiro said that he would discuss the issue with the Prime Minister. [Expatica, 2 September ] Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the palliative care pioneer, has died at the age of 78. Dr Kubler-Ross became famous after the publication of her book 'On Death and Dying' based on her interviews with terminally ill patients, promoting the development of hospices and palliative care whilst opposing euthanasia. [Economist, 2 September ] A Catholic priest has condemned plans by Marie Stopes International to open an abortion facility next to a hostel for homeless families. Fr Tom Connolly described the proposed facility as 'a house of death and carnage' and has encouraged people to demonstrate outside it. A spokeswoman for the ProLife Party described MSI's plans as 'extremely cynical' because the area has a large student population and may be financially lucrative. [South Manchester Reporter, 3 September ] The Catholic bishops of Paraguay have denounced plans by the country's Health Minister to allow the sale of the morning after pill. The decision goes against Paraguay's laws which protect the unborn. [Catholic World News, 2 September ] Sex selection is on the increase in Sydney, Australia, with couples paying up to $13,000 to choose their child's sex at IVF clinics. Professor Robert Jansen's clinic Sydney IVF does approximately 200 sex selections a year, half for social reasons, whilst the IVF Australia clinic plans to treble its capacity next year. Tony Abbott the Federal Health minister has said that the New South Wales government should consider banning sex selection. [Bioedge, 3 September] US President George.W. Bush told American voters last night that "Because a caring society will value its weakest members, we must make a place for the unborn child." [Bush-Cheney '04, 2 September ] Mr Bush was giving his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in New York, where his pro-life comment received warm applause from delegates. On Wednesday, Michael Reagan, the adopted son of the late pro-life U.S. president Ronald Reagan, told the convention delegates: "I consider myself the luckiest man in the world. My mother, father and birth-mother were pro-life, and pro-adoption." [2004 Republican National Convention, 1 September ] At a convention fringe meeting, Catholic politicians called upon their colleagues to work for Mr Bush's re-election because of his support for pro-life values [The Guardian, 2 September ] Cardinal Egan, archbishop of New York, closed the convention with a prayer that Americans will be "a people of justice who revere the rights of others, and especially that precious right to live which resides in children coming into this world and in the aged and infirm departing from it." [PR Newswire, 2 September ]

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