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Defending life
from conception to natural death


So-called saviour siblings "could be seen as permanent source of spare parts"

31 January 2006

The Human Genetics Commission has expressed concerns about the exploitation of 'designer babies' created to be donors to a sick sibling. In a report, the HGC warned that once children have been created for the purpose of aiding another, they could easily be viewed as a permanent source of spare parts and be expected to give regular tissue donations or even organ donations if necessary. Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics commented: "These issues are absolutely what we have been worried about. And they should be thought about before children are used as guinea pigs in a social experiment." [British Nursing News Online, 31 January]

Dr Michael Irwin, the former chairman of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and doctor who was struck off the medical register last year, is being investigated by police after a man complained that Dr Irwin had encouraged him to contact Dignitas. Dr Irwin has denied the allegation that he 'proactively' approached the man who has Parkinson's and cancer of the larynx, claiming that he spoke with him only after he had already contacted Dignitas himself. [The Independent, 31 January]

An alliance has been formed to campaign against the legalisation of assisted suicide in Britain, BBC reports. The Care Not Killing Alliance comprises some 18 groups including the Association of Palliative Medicine, the National Centre for Independent Living and the British Council of Disabled People. [BBC, 31 January]

A baby who had heart surgery in the womb has been released from hospital. Grace from Boston underwent the first of three operations to correct hypoplastic left heart syndrome at 30 weeks gestation, which involved the insertion of a stent between the left and right sides of her heart. She will return to hospital for further surgery at 4 to 6 months. [Reuters, 30 January]

The manufacturer of a drug used with RU-486 to complete the abortion has warned that it cannot vouch for its safety when used in pregnancy. Misoprostol is taken after RU-486 to expel the dead baby, but a spokesman for Pfizer Australia said that Misoprostol should not be used for this purpose. A Senate committee is currently considering a bill to legalise RU-486 in Australia. [The Australian, 31 January]

A Canadian woman has been sentenced to three years probation after admitting to killing her son using sleeping pills and a plastic bag. Marielle Houle's son Charles Fariala had multiple sclerosis and allegedly depression and her lawyer described the crime as an act of 'unconditional love.' However, Alex Schadenberg, head of Ontario's Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said that Ms Houle should have been charged with second degree murder not assisting a suicide as she tied the bag over her son's head. [, 30 January]

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