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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 4 to 10 October

10 October 2006

weekly update, 4 to 10 October A senior cardinal has said that family life is under attack by "direct denial, if not mockery, ridicule, and scorn." Cardinal Jorge Mejia, former archivist and librarian of the Catholic Church, identified same sex unions, sex change operations, in vitro fertilization, as well as the dehumanization of the human embryo, as the main reasons for attacks on the family. [Catholic News Agency, 9 October ] Archbishop Raymond Burke, of St Louis, USA, has said he was "deeply concerned for all involved in the evils of human cloning and the destruction of the human embryo to harvest its stem cells. The woman who subjects herself to the harvesting of her eggs for human cloning participates in a grave moral evil, the artificial generation of human life," he said. [St Louis Review, 6 October ] Archbishop Sam Celestina Migliore, the Catholic Church's representative to the United Nations, has addressed the UN General Assembly telling it that it should not consider "access to reproductive health" as a tool to promote abortions. He reminded the General Assembly that UN documents have "sought to balance strongly held views" and that it is imperative to "ensure that respect for this delicate balance be maintained." [LifeNews.com 4 October ] Three teams of scientists in London, Edinburgh and Newcastle are to submit simultaneous applications to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) this month, requesting licences to create early-stage chimeric embryos (embryos of combined heredity) by placing DNA from the nucleus of a human cell in an animal egg. Rabbit or cow eggs would be used. The HFEA has sought legal advice and it encouraged the applications. Two of the groups, led by Stephen Minger at King's College, London, and Ian Wilmut, the Edinburgh University scientist whose team created Dolly the cloned sheep, plan to use the chimeric embryos to create stem cells that carry the genetic defects responsible for conditions such as motor neurone disease. The Newcastle group hopes to insert skin cells into animal eggs to identify how eggs can reprogram adult tissues into more primitive cells. [Guardian 5 October ] Christian doctors in Spain have said they "do not want to be executioners" and that euthanasia is outside the provision of their profession. The statement by the president of the Association of Christian Doctors of Catalonia warned Catalonia's Consultative Bioethics Committee that the acceptance of the first case of euthanasia "will produce a cascade which will include the handicapped, the demented and the elderly." Ferran García-Fària said a person's dignity always had an "absolute intrinsic value". [Zenit, 6 October ]

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