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Defending life from the moment of conception

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27 September 2005

27 September 2005

27 September 2005 Increasing numbers of fertile women are opting for IVF treatment because it provides them with an "instant" pregnancy, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Michael Dooley, a gynaecologist, obstetrician and fertility expert, said that in the past five years he has seen a 20 per cent increase in the number of patients seeking "inappropriate or premature" IVF treatment. He said, "Many of these couples are simply not having sex or not having enough sex. Conception has become medicalised. It's too clinical. There has been a trend away from having sex and loving relationships towards medicalised conception."

[The Telegraph, 25 September ] The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Judge John Roberts to be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in America.

The committee's vote was 13 to 5 with all 10 Republicans supporting Roberts. This is the first stage in his confirmation in the post. His nomination will now be sent on to the full Senate.

[Interactive Investor, 23 September ] Both pro-life and pro-abortion senators are supporting him, including the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee Pat Leahy who is an abortion advocate. He said that Roberts is not someone with an "ideological agenda".

[Life News, 21 September ] Hillary Clinton has reasserted her radical pro-abortion views in a statement attacking the possibility of "Roe v Wade" being overturned, News Max reports. After recently moderating her statements, apparently to win support from pro-lifers, she has posted a video-statement on her Senate campaign website saying that parts of the USA could have regimes like the reverse of China's "one-child policy."

State governments might force women to have children. She also suggested that the right to abortion is the most important part of the American constitution, saying: "If privacy in the most intimate areas of your lives doesn't exist, what do the other constitutional rights mean?"

[News Max, 24 September ] Italy's health minister has suspended the country's first experiments with the abortion pill RU-486. Francesco Storace halted the experiments, citing health concerns, after one of the volunteer women who took the pill had a "partial expulsion" at home and extensive bleeding.

He also said that the procedure was illegal under Italian law which states that abortions must take place in hospitals.

Pro-abortion Italian politicians criticised Storace's decision as an attempt to restrict the abortion law and said that the Catholic Church has too much influence on Italian politics.

[Reuters, 22 September ] The French government is attempting to slow the population decline in France by offering cash incentives for parents who have a third child.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is to unveil measures which will dramatically increase monthly welfare payments for working parents who take unpaid leave to care for a third child.

Across Europe fertility rates are well below the minimum of 2.07 children per woman that is needed to prevent population decline.

Jan Hoem, a director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, described the declining population in Europe as "a kind of creeping crisis".

[Evening Echo, 21 September ] Obese women have a lower chance of conceiving and are at a higher risk of miscarriage during pregnancy, according to a report published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Researchers found that obesity can also increase the woman's chances of gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia, which can be life threatening to the mother and the unborn child. It also doubles the baby's risk of a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.

However, Dr Laura Riley, co-author of the report, warned that women should not diet during pregnancy as this can harm the baby and said instead that women should ensure they are at a healthy weight before conception.

[My Way News, 19 September ] An anaemic unborn baby is safe and well after receiving a blood transfusion while still in his mother's womb.

This treatment has been carried out relatively few times in the UK and it was the first time it had been performed at the city hospital in Plymouth.

The baby's mother, Lizzie Morgan said: "It was amazing to see the blood going through the needle into my baby's vein. I feel a lot happier since the transfusion. I could feel the baby slowing down as he was getting poorly, but after the transfusion he instantly started wriggling."

Dr Ross Welch, one of the experts who performed the operation, described it as "a life-saving procedure."

[This is Plymouth, 24 September ] A doctor who agreed to help his friend commit suicide is to appear before the General Medical Council.

Dr Michael Irwin, former chairman of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, welcomed the GMC hearing as a chance to challenge the law.

He admits travelling to the Isle of Man in 2003 with sleeping pills to help his fellow campaigner Patrick Kneen to commit suicide.

Mr Kneen died without assistance from Dr Irwin but the plan led to the arrest of Dr Irwin and a police caution.

If he is found guilty by the GMC, he could be struck off the medical register.

Dr Irwin claims that several doctors have "twinning" agreements with colleagues - whereby they would help each other to die if required.

[BBC News, 26 September ] Researchers in Korea have used umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cells to successfully treat a patient with spinal cord injury.

The patient, a woman who has been paralysed for more than 19 years following an accident, has regained feeling and mobility and parts of her spinal cord have started to regenerate. The report was published in Cytotherapy, a peer-reviewed medical journal. Commentator Wesley J Smith cautioned that the report was of a single case, but said it offered enormous hope for those suffering from paralysis.

[Life News, 26 September ] Cardinal George Pell of Sydney is urging the Australian government to ban embryonic stem cell research.

He told the Australian newspaper The Age that scientists have not produced significant results from their work with embryonic stem cells while research using adult stem cells has yielded better results.

He said that existing laws, which allow experiments on embryos left over from IVF treatment, have created "a class of human life that is statutorily expendable." [Catholic World News, 21 September ]

Professor Ian Wilmut, who created Dolly the sheep, has called for fewer restrictions on cloning in the UK.

Speaking at the launch of the Economic and Social Research Council's Genomics Policy and Research Forum in Edinburgh, he claimed that concerns about the creation of "designer babies" were exaggerated. He said: "In this country we are at a great disadvantage by concentrating too much on the ethical and negative issues surrounding great science." [Scotland on Sunday, 25 September ]

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