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Defending life
from conception to natural death


8 September 2005

8 September 2005

8 September 2005 The scientist who developed Dolly the sheep has claimed that using embryonic stem cells for research is more ethical than using animals.

Professor Ian Wilmut says that using human embryonic stem cells is justified on the grounds that it would save "potentially many thousands of animals."

He is currently applying for a licence to experiment on embryonic stem cells.

[The Herald, 8 September ] A pro-life activist in China, who is campaigning against the country's one child policy, is on hunger strike in prison.

Chen Guangcheng, 34, who is blind, was arrested for trying to launch a lawsuit against forced sterilisations and abortions.

He had collected evidence of cases in Linyi, a city of 10 million people, where couples had been forced to be sterilised and women had been coerced into aborting seven-month old unborn children.

Only hours before Guangcheng's arrest, Tony Blair said that China had "unstoppable momentum" towards greater political freedom.

[The Guardian, 8 September ] Hearings on the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be chief justice of the Supreme Court in the US are scheduled to begin on Monday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hope to finish the hearings by the end of next week so that the Senate can vote on Roberts' nomination before the court's autumn term begins.

They are expected to scrutinise closely Roberts' legal and personal views on abortion.

[Medical News Today, 8 September ] Chemicals in every day household products are potentially dangerous for unborn children, according to research by the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace Netherlands.

The study, which tested 42 maternal and 27 umbilical cord blood samples, showed that unborn children are exposed to these chemicals as they feed through the umbilical cord.

The toxins can be found in many items including food tins, electrical goods, perfumes, pesticides, deodorants and toothpaste.

Helen Perivier, Toxics Campaigner for Greenpeace International, said: "It is shocking that such chemicals are in the human body at any stage of our life, let alone at the very start, when the child is most vulnerable. Governments need to act and require industries to substitute these contaminating chemicals with safer alternatives."

[World Wildlife Fund, 8 September ] However, health experts said that pregnant women do not need to worry unduly. Consultant obstetrician Professor Andrew Shennan said: "It's not something to be alarmed about. These substances have probably been around for years and years."

[BBC News, 7 September ] Taking anti-depressants during pregnancy could increase the risk of birth defects such as cleft palates and cardiac deficiency, according to a new study by scientists from Denmark and the US.

They have warned that Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), a widely used anti-depressant, could be linked to a 40% increased risk of the baby developing defects.

[British Cardiac Society, 8 September Researchers in Holland, the first country to legalise euthanasia, have found that some doctors are hastening the deaths of terminally ill children.

The study looked at the deaths of 64 ill children.

42 out of these involved a medical decision that could end the child's life.

The decisions included withdrawing life support and administering drugs such as morphine.

Dutch law forbids euthanasia for children younger then 12.

[Irish Examiner, 7 September ] An abortion clinic in America is facing a court case over illegal late-term abortions and its refusal to help in a state investigation into statutory rape.

Women's Health Care Services in Kansas, which is operated by Planned Parenthood Federation, has refused to give up documents to Attorney General Phill Kline of the Kansas Supreme Court, which would show how many of the women who had had abortions there were victims of statutory rape and also how many abortion were performed illegally late.

The clinic was seen shredding hundreds of documents on Friday, thought to be the compromising records.

[Life News, 6 September ] Pregnant women have been warned that chickenpox can seriously damage their unborn child and their own health.

The Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin said that, although in most cases having chickenpox during pregnancy did not cause lasting harm to the mother or the child, there is a chance that the child could be disabled or that the mother could suffer complications as a result.

They said that 1.4% of babies exposed to chickenpox during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy developed a potentially fatal condition called foetal varicella syndrome, which causes skin loss, scarring, underdevelopment, weak limbs and reduced birth rates.

The DTB advised pregnant women who have not had chickenpox to avoid going near those with the infection and seek immediate medical attention if they are exposed to it.

Dr Ike Iheanacho, the editor of DTB, said: "It is crucial that healthcare professionals remain alert to the dangers of chickenpox infection during and following pregnancy. By doing so, they can help to ensure women and their babies receive prompt, appropriate care to tackle and minimise these risks."

[The Daily Mail, 7 September ] A court in Lima has ruled that the morning-after-pill may not be distributed in Peru.

The ruling was made in response to a petition filed by the Association for the Struggle Against Corruption Without Compromise, a popular pressure group in Peru, which is a largely Catholic country.

The Peruvian Health Minister, Pilar Mazzetti was told that she must put an end to the practice of distributing the pills until it is determined not to be an abortifacient.

The leader of the Anti-Corruption group said that he was satisfied with the ruling, as a wealth of scientific studies show that the pills in question are in fact abortifacient.

[Life Site, 6 September ] A new study has confirmed that there is a direct link between recreational drug use and abnormality among unborn babies.

The report, which was published by Professor John Morrison at the National University of Ireland, showed an increasingly common condition in young mothers who take drugs, known as foetal gastro-sysus. This occurs where the baby is born with its abdominal wall open and the intestines and internal organs outside the body. [Evening Echo, 6 September ]

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