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Defending life from the moment of conception

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31 January 2005

31 January 2005

31 January 2005 A surrogate mother has died shortly after giving birth, The Daily Mail reports.

Natasha Caltabiano, 29, who was involved with the agency Surrogacy UK, developed high blood pressure and a ruptured aorta after the delivery, dying 90 minutes later.

Her mother Marilyn said: "Surrogacy caused Natasha's death. People must realise that childbirth isn't something you enter into lightly. It's still dangerous but that is something surrogate agencies don't go into."

[Daily Mail, 29 January ] The parents of Charlotte Wyatt have lost a High Court bid to lift an order permitting doctors not to resuscitate her if she stops breathing. 15-month-old Charlotte is seriously disabled, oxygen-dependent and has never left St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth, but her parents argued that she is showing signs of improvement, such as responding to stimulation.

Mr Justice Hedley ruled that there should be a hearing before Easter to review the case but refused to lift the Do Not Resuscitate order.

[The Telegraph, 29 January ] A member of the Scottish Parliament has said that Catholic schools should have their state funding withdrawn if they refuse to adopt the new sexual health strategy.

Mike Rumbles, a Liberal Democrat, said that he was prepared to table amendments that would force the Catholic Church to comply with the strategy, stating: "The Catholic Church cannot resist it. That would be against the rules of the state system.Either you are in the state system or you are not. If you are in the state system you obey the rules."

[The Times of London, 30 January ] A Swiss nurse has been convicted of killing 22 elderly patients by lethal injection or suffocation and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Roger Andermatt, 36, claimed that his motive was compassion but, according to a statement by Lucerne officials, he also cited a desire to ease the work overload. Many of his victims suffered from Alzheimer's disease and were aged between 66 and 95.

[BBC, 28 January ] A Danish sperm bank is recruiting extra donors in response to a rush of orders from UK IVF clinics wishing to stock up before donor anonymity comes to an end in April.

Cryos supply sperm to 40 countries where tall, blond, blue-eyed donors are sought, and already supply Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

[The Sunday Times, 30 January ] A film based on the life of a Spanish diver who campaigned for the right to be killed after being paralysed during a diving accident, has won 14 awards at a film awards ceremony held at Spain's Academy of Cinematic Arts and Sciences.

Ramon Sampedro, the subject of the film The Sea Inside, was eventually helped to commit suicide by a friend who placed a glass of cyanide by his bedside and filmed his agonising death.

[Yahoo News, 31 January ] Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have reported success in coaxing human embryonic stem cells to become motor neurons.

Embryonic stem cells are proving much harder to use than many scientists predicted, a major obstacle being the short window of time during human development when the cells have the potential to transform.

Dr Su-Chun Zhang who led the study warned that it will be many years before the results can be tested on humans.

[Medical News Today, 31 January ] The owner of a New Jersey abortion facility, whose receptionist was recently arrested for performing illegal abortions, is being charged with flushing the remains of aborted babies down a toilet into the sewerage system.

If found guilty Dr Flavius Moses Thompson could go to prison for up to five years. [, 28 January ]

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