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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Charlotte Wyatt parents to go to Court of Appeal

22 August 2005

The parents of baby Charlotte Wyatt are going to the Court of Appeal to try to overturn a ruling permitting doctors to withhold treatment from her if her condition deteriorates.

When the judgement was originally made, the court was told that it was the 'unanimous view of doctors' that Charlotte would never be well enough to leave the hospital and that she was 'highly unlikely' to survive the winter.

However, one year later, she is alive, her breathing is improving, she is allowed short trips out of the hospital and the 22-month-old has been described as making 'remarkable progress.'

Despite this, the hospital still intends to oppose Mr and Mrs Wyatt's attempt to reverse the ruling, claiming that the doctors' clinical opinion has not changed. [Sunday Times, 21 August]

London fertility clinic granted embryonic screening licence

A London fertility clinic has been granted a licence to screen human embryos for a rare form of eye cancer.

Retinoblastoma is rarely fatal and can be treated successfully in 95% of cases, but Dr Paul Serhal of the assisted conception unit at University College Hospital in London claimed that screening out and killing embryos using Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis was preferable to eugenic abortion. [The Scotsman, 20 August]

Alison Davis, co-ordinator of the disability rights group No Less Human commented: "Dr Paul Serhal says "is there anything better?" than embryo selection, with the destruction of those affected by retinoblastoma, as he maintains this is preferable to aborting affected babies.

"The truth is that both are equally unethical, since destroying human beings affected by disability is wrong whatever their age." [SPUC source]

Other stories:

Lifesaving surgery has been performed on an unborn child to remove a tumour that was cramping his lungs, LifeNews reports. Dr Oluyinka Olutoye performed the surgery on Garrett Jorgensen at the Texas Centre for Fetal Surgery by partially delivering him to gain access to his chest. Garrett was then fully delivered and the procedure was completed. [LifeNews, 19 August]

A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility has suggested that the morning after pill does not cause significant problems in the developing baby if pregnancy continues after it has been used. The study was conducted by researchers at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome and involved 36 pregnant women who had taken the drug and 80 who had not. Dr Marco De Santis, the lead author, said that though it was a small study, "we believe that ... exposure to this drug does not warrant a voluntary abortion" out of fear for the health of the developing baby. [Reuters, 20 August]

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