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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Dieting during pregnancy 'risk to unborn child'

26 July 2006

Women who diet during pregnancy are putting the health of their unborn child at risk, according to a study by British scientists. Researchers from the University of Southampton found that children whose mothers do not eat enough in pregnancy are more likely to suffer from hardened arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis, which can lead to a variety of health complications such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Dr Catherine Gale, who led the research, said: "Our study provides direct evidence for the first time in humans that the mother's diet in pregnancy might influence the child's susceptibility to atherosclerosis." [Daily Mail, 25 July]

A Vatican newspaper and radio station have criticised the decision by the European Union to continue funding embryonic stem cell research. The newspaper L'Osservatore Romano described the decision as "the macabre product of a twisted sense of progress" and Vatican Radio called the funding "unacceptable for the Church". Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, a top Vatican official on bioethical issues, said that the EU was endorsing "the use of human beings, on the basis of 'I kill you to get advantages for others." [The Guardian, 25 July]

Alison Davis, the national co-ordinator of the pro-life disability rights group No Less Human (NLH) has had a letter published in the British newspaper, the Independent, criticising Stephen Hawking's support of embryonic stem cell research. She emphasises the failure of embryonic stem cell research to produce any results and explores the better results of using ethically obtained adult stem cells. In conclusion, she writes: "I would never accept embryonic stem-cell treatments, because I would not want it on my conscience to be "helped" at the expense of killing some of the most vulnerable of my fellow human beings." [The Independent, 26 July]

Tony Blair is undertake the first ever visit to California by a serving British Prime Minister, citing the US state's promotion of stem cell research as one of the reasons for the visit. As reported earlier this week, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, authorized a substantial loan for embryonic stem cell research. Mr Blair's schedule includes attending a talk on biotechnology. [10 Downing Street Press Briefing, 25 July]

Hwang Woo-suk, the disgraced South Korean stem cell scientist, denied that he had embezzled research funds, claiming that some of the money had instead been spent on efforts to clone a mammoth, according to CNN News. Speaking at the third hearing in his trial, he said that he had "tried three times but failed all those times" to clone a mammoth using tissue samples found in glaciers. He is currently being tried for misappropriating funds, embezzlement and illegally purchasing human eggs for research. The trial continues. [CNN News, 25 July]

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