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Defending life
from conception to natural death


25 February 2005

25 February 2005

25 February 2005 The Spanish Government has approved four research projects involving the use of embryonic stem cells.

Bernat Soria will use embryonic stem cells taken from 'spare' IVF embryos to study diabetes, whilst another project will study Parkinson's. Sweden, Belgium and Britain also permit destructive embryo research.

[, 24 February ] Police have dropped an investigation into the death of a terminally ill woman at a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, Manchester Online reports.

The 62-year-old woman from Wigan who has not been named, was suffering from Motor Neuron Disease and made the decision to travel to Zurich with the full agreement of her husband.

She died by lethal injection in the presence of a friend.

Her husband did not accompany her to avoid possible arrest.

[Manchester Online, 25 February ] The UN's latest population report has predicted that India will become the world's most populous nation by 2030, overtaking China.

The report predicts growth in nine countries, including the US, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, whilst many other nations, including most European populations, are expected to continue to decline dramatically.

[Interactive Investor, 25 February ] Japan's birth rate continues to decline, with a new survey revealing that the majority of single women do not intend to marry, Reuters reports.

The country's birth rate fell to 1.29 in 2003, the lowest since the Second World War, and down to 0.9987 in Tokyo.

The current trend has raised concerns about an impending demographic crisis that would result in a top-heavy population, damage to the economy and psychological problems for the younger generation.

[Yahoo News, 25 February ] Florida's social services are reportedly seeking a 60-day delay of the removal of Terri Schiavo's tube feeding whilst they investigate allegations that she has been the victim of neglect and abuse.

The document is said to highlight complaints that Terri has been deprived of adequate therapy and medical care by her husband. Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have publicly alleged that Michael Schiavo has mistreated her.

[The Guardian, 25 February ] The Surgeon General has advised pregnant women to abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy to avoid harming the unborn child. Unborn babies exposed to alcohol can suffer from a range of conditions such as learning difficulties, growth deficiencies and nervous system disorders.

[Medical News Today, 25 February ] A survey of Japanese families has suggested that palliative care for the terminally ill begins too late to benefit either the patients concerned or their families.

The study found that half the families who had lost a member felt that they had been referred to hospice care too late, blaming an unwillingness on the part of doctors to discuss end-of-life care and lack of knowledge on the subject.

In the US, it is thought that a third of patients in hospice care die within a week of referral.

The study has been published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

[Reuters Health, 24 February ] The Kansas Attorney General has requested the details of 90 women and girls from abortion facilities as part of an investigation into illegal late-term abortions and underage sex.

Two facilities are opposing the request, but Phill Kline stated: "I have the duty to investigate and prosecute child rape and other crimes in order to protect Kansas children." Abortion is restricted in Kansas after 22 weeks. [The Guardian, 25 February ]

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