Baby MB: Parents overjoyed at High Court ruling
16 March 2006
The parents of baby MB have expressed their joy at Mr Justice Holman's ruling in the High Court which forbade doctors from removing their son's life-saving ventilation. MB's father said "I'm glad to be his father. He deserves life. He deserves to stay alive". Meanwhile Jeremy Howat, whose daughter also suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, commented, "My wife and I have a 25 per cent chance of having another child with SMA. You have to ask yourself whether, at some point in the future, they would be able to stop people like us from having another child because it may have SMA. I'm glad that the judge was able to see this baby as a human being and not a disease". [The Times, 16 March]
A UK peer spoke out strongly against the dangers of Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill at a public debate at the Middle Temple Inn of Court, London, this week. Lord Brennan called the bill "wrong in principle, unworkable in practice and a serious danger to the common good of our society". Dr Rob George, a leading palliative care expert, drew attention to the fact that "The Bill changes a freedom to die into an entitlement to be killed... Killing is being regarded as a treatment". A number of groups participated in the debate, including the Lawyer's Christian Fellowship, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (now renamed Dignity in Dying) and the Care Not Killing Alliance, an umbrella group of medical and political organisations. [The Universe, 16 March] The Joffe Bill is due for further debate on 12th May in the House of Lords.
A pilot study has found that adult stem cells derived from bone-marrow can improve heart function and blood flow when injected into the heart and coronary artery tissues of patients with heart disease. It was further noted that the degree of improvement increased with the number of adult stem cells injected. Dr Marianne Gyongyosi, of the University of Vienna Medical Centre, Austria, presented the findings at the 2006 American College of Cardiology Scientific Session. [Medical News Today, 16 March]
Two leading political scientists have drawn attention to China's one-child policy as a factor in the country's economic problems. Minxin Pei, speaking of government strategies to protect China's economic welfare, noted that 30 years of the one child policy have made China the fastest ageing country in the world, which may well be "growing old before it becomes rich". [World Peace Herald, 8 March] Elisabeth Croll, an anthropologist who has been visiting China for decades, also noted this danger of the one-child policy. [BBC News, 8 March]
Meanwhile, Philip Longman in USA Today has drawn attention to the disparity in birth-rates between socially liberal and socially conservative people in the USA and Europe. Longman argues that in the long term liberalism may decline because those who say they find soft drugs, homosexuality and euthanasia acceptable are much less likely to have children than those who respond negatively to these issues. [USA Today, 13 March]