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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Department of Health launches public consultation on embryo regulations

16 August 2005

The British government's department of health has launched a public consultation on the laws and regulations on embryo experimentation and assisted reproduction.

So-called sex selection for social reasons, the creation of human-animal hybrids (chimeras) and the welfare of children conceived artificially are among the wide range of issues to be considered in the consultation.

The deadline for responses to the consultation is 25 November.

At the same time, the Government has issued a response to the House of Commons science & technology committee report on reproductive technologies [Department of Health, 16 August]. SPUC condemned the March report as "abhorrent" [SPUC media release, 24 March].

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "The government is attempting to camouflage its openness to new anti-life practices by issuing a relatively conservative response on the even more radically anti-life proposals of the Commons science & technology committee.

"It is essential that as many people as possible respond to the consultation, telling the government loud and clear that they will not tolerate another slide down the slippery slope."

SPUC plans to publish a pack to help people respond to the consultation.

Other stories:

A 28-year-old woman who was born with a congenital heart condition, Eisenmenger Syndrome, has abandoned a bid to end her life by starvation. Kelly Taylor, who wants to see euthanasia legalised in the UK, ended her hunger strike after 19 days because of pain and distress. She said: "It has become too uncomfortable and I would not wish what I have been going through on my worst enemy ... I regret that I have to stop what I am doing because I still want to die. But starvation, as it turns out, is very undignified." [Telegraph, 13 August]

A 26-year-old woman with learning difficulties is fighting to stop her guardian forcing her to be sterilised. Kirsten Johnson cannot live independently but is sexually active and has said that she would like to marry. However, under Illinois law, it is possible for Kirsten to be forcibly sterilised if the courts regard it as being in her 'best interests' The judge presiding over the case insisted that there was no connection with the forced sterilisation of tens of thousands of 'mental defectives' which only ended some 30 years ago. [Bioedge, 11 August]

Edinburgh-based scientists claim to be the first in the world to have created nerve cells from embryonic stem cells. Dr Peter Mountford, the chief executive officer of Stem Cell Sciences plc, said: "SCS sees new business opportunities in both cell-based drug discoveries and cell-based therapies for neurological disorders." [This is Leicestershire, 16 August]

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