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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Babies 'stolen at birth and killed for stem cells'

18 December 2006

Babies in the Ukraine are reportedly being stolen from their parents at birth and killed so that their organs and stem cells can be harvested for international trade. The Ukraine is the main supplier of the global stem cell trade, and officially provides embryonic stem cells of aborted babies with the mothers' consent, but it is now suspected that there could also be hundreds of babies stolen to order at birth, to feed demand for stem cells from around the world. 300 families believe that their babies were deliberately targeted at a maternity hospital in the city of Kharkiv. The Council of Europe is now carrying out its own investigation into the Ukrainian mothers' claims and its interim report talks of a "culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate." [Daily Mail, 18 December]

The Vatican has refused to sign a charter of rights for the disabled on the grounds that it could be used to promote abortion. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities includes references to "sexual and reproductive health" - which could be used to support abortion. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations said: "The Holy See understands access to reproductive health as being a holistic concept that does not consider abortion or access to abortion as a dimension of those terms. However, even with this understanding, we opposed the inclusion of such a phrase in this article, because in some countries reproductive health services include abortion, thus denying the inherent right to life of every human being." An unnamed lobbyist told Ekklesia: "The failure of the Holy See to back disability action through this measure puts it in a dishonourable minority" [Ekklesia, 16 December] SPUC comment: Pro-life groups at the UN said the Vatican decision to withhold its support was like "a hammer blow being struck against the culture of death."

A judge in Italy has refused the request of a paralysed man to have his life support machine turned off. Piergiorgio Welby, 60, who has had muscular dystrophy since he was a teenager, has appealed to the president for euthanasia to be legalised. Judge Angela Salvio ruled that Welby had a constitutional right to determine his own treatment, but that Italy's medical code required that doctors maintain a patient's life and that physicians must not carry out treatments aimed at causing death. [The Herald, 18 December]

British police investigating the murders of five women in Suffolk have said that the fact that one of them was pregnant is irrelevant. The body of Anneli Alderton, a 24 year old prostitute, was found near Ipswich on December 10. Assistant Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer said: "Miss Alderton was three months pregnant. But we do not regard that as having any relevance to the inquiry - however sad it may be." [BBC News, 16 December] Some newspapers referred to Miss Alderton's unborn child as the killer's sixth victim. [Evening Post, 18 December]

A British MP has said that she plans to renew her call to reduce the time limit for abortions. Nadine Dorries, a Conservative, is to publish a new version of her bill which seeks to reduce the timescale from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. She said that her especial aim was to reduce the number of "barbaric" abortions involving lethal injections. The bill also calls for a one-week "cooling off" period between a request for am abortion and it being performed to allow time for counselling. [BBC News, 14 December]

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