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Defending life
from conception to natural death


9 February 2005

9 February 2005

9 February 2005 Professor Ian Wilmut, the Edinburgh scientist who cloned Dolly the Sheep, has been granted a licence to clone human embryos.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) received Professor Wilmut's application last September and has already granted scientists from the University of Newcastle a licence to clone.

[BBC, 8 February ] In a press statement, SPUC described the decision as 'a licence to clone and kill.' Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's Political Secretary commented: "So-called therapeutic cloning exploits human beings and uses them as resources rather than respecting them as persons.

As Dr Harry Griffin, who helped Professor Wilmut create Dolly the sheep, admitted, '[Therapeutic cloning] is clearly not therapeutic for the embryo.'"

[SPUC press release ] An Illinois judge has ruled that a couple can file a wrongful death suit after their frozen embryos were accidentally discarded.

Judge Jeffrey Lawrence said in his ruling that the state's Wrongful Death Act protects the unborn child from death by accident or assault and defines life as beginning at conception.

[Medical News Today, 8 February ] The UK medical firm Smith&Nephew has begun a research programme on the use of a patient's own bone marrow cells to repair damaged tissue.

50 scientists are said to be working on the therapy, which is concentrating on the possibility of treating skin, bone and cartilage damage.

[The Guardian, 7 February ] An Australian senator has said that men should take more responsibility for unintended pregnancies and that women seeking abortion should be given a free ultrasound, independent counselling and a 'cooling off' period of 48 hours before undergoing an abortion.

His statement followed an indication by Prime Minister John Howard that he would allow parliament to debate a private member's bill on abortion.

[The Australian, 8 February ] The Hawaii legislature has voted against the legalisation of assisted suicide, reports. The proposed bill would have allowed doctors to prescribe drugs for patients to use to commit suicide.

A number of doctors from Oregon gave evidence against assisted suicide, stating that terminally ill patients 'are potential victims of subtle and not-so-subtle coercion.'

[, 8 February ] The Dutch Voluntary End of Life Association has launched an investigation, claiming that doctors are avoiding carrying out euthanasia requests, LifeSiteNews reports.

Government statistics show that over half of all euthanasia requests in 2001 were never carried out, but doctors have said that one third of patients died naturally before euthanasia could be carried out and others did not fulfil the legal requirements.

[, 8 February ] A baby has been born at the Royal Gwent Hospital in South Wales after undergoing eight surgical interventions whilst in the womb.

McKenzie Gwynne had neo-natal alloimmune thrombocytopenia which meant that she had a chronic shortage of blood platelets and needed blood transfusions through the umbilical cord.

On one occasion her heart stopped beating and she needed an injection of blood into the heart to save her life. [ICWales, 8 February ]

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