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Defending life from the moment of conception

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20 October 2005

20 October 2005

20 October 2005 A stem cell bank has opened in South Korea to supply embryonic stem cell lines to scientists in countries where human embryos receive more protection from destructive research.

At the opening ceremony, Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh congratulated Korea "for constructing the world stem cell hub as a global lighthouse, safely and responsibly guiding us away from treacherous rocks."

[The Guardian, 20 October ] UK fertility experts have warned that women are postponing motherhood because of false expectations about the potential success of IVF treatment, the Independent reports.

Dr Richard Kennedy of the British Fertility Society said: "Doctors are partly to blame because of the way in which IVF is talked about. Stories about 'medical breakthroughs' where women of 60 have given birth as a result of fertility treatment have contributed to the problem."

Delayed motherhood is now the biggest factor in female infertility.

[The Independent, 20 October ] Shanghai police are investigating adverts offering babies for sale that were placed on a Chinese auction website owned by Ebay.

EachNet removed the adverts from the site as soon as they were alerted and has agreed to review its system.

Child trafficking is one of a number of problems in China resulting from the one-child policy.

[Sky News, 20 October ] The Brook Advisory Service, which gives advice to young people on sexual health issues including contraception and abortion, has criticised government proposals that, if ratified, would require counsellors to pass information about children engaging in underage sex to social workers and police.

Brook claims that lack of confidentiality will discourage children from seeking advice and make them more vulnerable to abuse and teenage pregnancy.

Underage confidentiality is due to be challenged in the courts next month by a mother, Sue Axon, who fears that it facilitates underage abortion without parental consent.

[The Guardian, 19 October ; The Times, 19 October ; BBC, 18 October ] Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a new method which it is hoped will increase the yield of stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

Cord blood can be used as an alternative to donated bone marrow transplants for leukaemia patients, but so far it has been difficult to extract enough cells to treat adults.

It is hoped to make clinical trials using the new process in the next year.

[Medical News Today, 19 October ] A Catholic school in the US has sacked a drama teacher after parents reported that she had been involved with volunteering for Planned Parenthood, the world's largest abortion provider.

Marie Bain was seen acting as an escort outside an abortion clinic, ensuring clients did not speak with pro-life demonstrators before entering the clinic.

Bishop William Wiegand's dismissal order stated that 'public participation in the procurement of abortions is morally inappropriate and unacceptable'.

[ 18 October ] The Catholic bishops of Canada have sent a letter to all Canadian MPs urging them to oppose a bill that would legalize euthanasia in their country.

The letter says that 'Legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia...would justify the most extreme human abuse possible, namely the killing of another person.'

Those in extreme suffering are 'in need instead of personal attention as well as physical, psychological and emotional support until their natural death.'

[, 18 October ]

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