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Defending life
from conception to natural death


House of Lords approves 'designer babies'

29 April 2005

The House of Lords has ruled in favour of allowing the creation of 'designer babies' through IVF to provide donors for sick siblings.

The ruling upholds an earlier judgement, which permitted Raj and Shahana Hashmi to use IVF to create and select an embryo of the same tissue type as their son who has beta-thalassaemia.

The pro-life group Comment On Reproductive Ethics fought the case and may appeal the decision in the European courts. [Times of London, 28 April]

Other stories:

An Australian man accused of the attempted murder of his wife has been denied the right to made decisions about her future treatment. Maria Korp has been in a coma since she was found in the boot of her car, having been strangled and trapped for five days. Her husband and his former lover have been charged with attempted murder, which would change to a charge of murder if Mrs Korp dies. Mr Korp argues that as a devout Catholic, his wife would not want her tube feeding and breathing apparatus to be removed. [Breaking News, 29 April]

A regional newspaper has reported that primary school children were exposed to sexually explicit information and boxes of contraceptive pills at a Youth Council Forum. Some teachers ushered their children away from displays and a spokeswoman for the Catholic Communication Network criticised the approach. "Eight-years-old is much too young to be introduced to this type of thing," she said. "Sex education is always dealt with holistically in Catholic education as part of a look at relationships in general." [North-West Evening Mail, 29 April]

A High Court judge who ruled six months ago that doctors did not need to resuscitate a severely disabled baby if she stopped breathing has refused to overturn the ruling. The parents of Charlotte Wyatt, who was born three months premature in October 2003 and has brain, lung and kidney damage, argued that her condition has improved in the past six months. The judge acknowledged that Charlotte now needed less oxygen, was more responsive and did not usually require sedation but stated again that it would not be in her best interests 'to die in the course of futile aggressive treatment.' [British Medical Journal, 30 April]

The auxiliary bishop of Sydney has called Australia's abortion figures 'a national disgrace.' Bishop Anthony Fisher said of the latest statistics: "We are terminating our future. Every single lost child is a tragedy. Ninety thousand a year is a national tragedy. Abortion is like a tsunami that hits Australia every year." [Cathnews, 29 April]

A report released by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) this month highlighted the importance of skilled birth attendants, not abortion, as the primary means of reducing maternal mortality. 'Maternal Mortality Update 2004: Delivering Into Good Hands' acknowledges that "almost all maternal mortality is avoidable" because "all five of the most life-threatening complications can be treated by a professional health worker." However, UNFPA continues to support and promote abortion around the world. [C-Fam, 22 April]

A woman is considering legal action against an Orlando abortion facility after they refused to call an ambulance when her baby was born alive. The woman, named Angele, had a late term abortion at Orlando Women's Centre involving the baby having an injection directly into the heart. However, the baby boy was born alive and Angele was forced to telephone a friend to ask her to call an ambulance after staff refused. The baby died before help arrived. [LifeNews, 28 April]

The president of the Italian Pro-Life Movement has revealed that the late Pope John Paul II allocated 25,000 euros to their work four days before his death. Carlo Casini said that the money would be used to fund the Gemma Project, which offers financial support to pregnant women who would otherwise face pressure to have abortions. [Zenit, 28 April]

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