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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Benn attacks Blair over "eugenics" plans

5 September 2006

A former British Labour MP has said that the prime minister's plans to identify problematic children before they are born amount to eugenics. Mr Tony Benn, who was a cabinet minister, told BBC Five Live radio that the plan was one of "a million new gimmicks" put forward by Tony Blair. He said: "This one about identifying troublesome children in the foetus - this is eugenics, the sort of thing Hitler talked about." [Ananova, 4 September] SPUC comment: Mr Benn was well known as a far left MP who consistently voted with the pro-abortion lobby in parliament.

An international symposium entitled 'Reproductive Recycling: Germ Cells to Stem Cells' is taking place at the Queen's Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. The programme includes a session entitled: Human embryonic stem cells to germ cells led by Dr Harry Moore (Sheffield, UK) and Professor Karim Nayernia (Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK). The meeting will focus on areas such as regenerative medicine, as well as the ethical implications of stem cell research. [The Scotsman, 2 September and Univ of Edinburgh]

A Reuters report on discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients claims that a pregnant Indian woman with HIV performed an abortion on herself. Health workers fearful of catching HIV looked on and told her what to do. The incident occurred at a hospital in eastern India last month, The woman, Roshni Mulani, 23, said "They read about my HIV status from medical reports ... and threw medicines from a distance." [Reuters, 4 September]

35-year old Mrs Lesley Johnstone from Dundee, Scotland, reportedly went through an artificial menopause in order to have IVF treatment. Mrs Johnstone, who suffers from endometriosis, was given injections into the ovaries over three months to arrest ovulation. She and her husband then had IVF treatment at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. She subsequently gave birth to twin daughters in July. [The Daily Record, 4 September]

Women over 38 who become mothers after IVF treatment are more prone to depression and stress, according to psychologists at Cardiff University who studied women aged from 25 to 54 who gave birth after IVF treatment. They found that older women were more likely to have problems in pregnancy and to give birth by Caesarean section, as well as being more likely to suffer depression and experience less warmth in their relationships. [Sunday Herald, 3 September]

Texas Medical Board has ruled that girls aged 17 or under must have written parental consent on a six page form which must be notarised by a third party. Mr Joe Pojman, director of Texas Alliance for Life, said: "This form helps to eliminate fraud so illegal abortions will not be performed on young girls. It is just common sense to assure that the person presenting himself as a parent of a young girl is indeed the parent." [Star-Telegram, 1 September]

A pregnant woman in Britain has died of peritonitis after hospital staff failed to diagnose her condition. Ms Lisa O'Neill, 33, who was 18 weeks pregnant, was admitted to Borders General Hospital suffering from violent sickness and stomach pains. She was found dead in her bedroom a week after being discharged from the hospital. The death is currently being investigated by the hospital. [Injury Watch, 2 September]

Vandals who destroyed a pro-life display at an American university have apologised. Six students at Northern Kentucky University were charged with criminal mischief and theft when they destroyed part of a memorial to unborn children killed in abortion consisting of a display of white crosses called "Graveyard of the Innocent." They agreed to write letters of apology, perform community service and pay a $100 fine. However, some have maintained that the campus display was inappropriate and have said that they were exercising their own right to express a contrary opinion. They will return to court on 29th September. [The Enquirer, 3 September]

Axordia Ltd has announced that it is to be one of three commercial partners taking part in the €12million programme which aims to advance understanding and application of human embryonic stem cells. Dr V Paul Gerskowitch, chief executive officer of Axordia, said "The project is important in terms of providing a focal point for further stem cell progress, ... and enhancing the competitive advantage of the UK and Europe." [Bionity, 4 September]

Children of women who do not have enough vitamin E during pregnancy are more likely to develop asthma, according to British scientists. Researchers at the University of Aberdeen found that children of mothers who had the lowest intake were over five times more likely to have asthma than those whose mothers had the highest intakes. It is thought that vitamin E has a beneficial effect on the developing lungs of unborn children. Dr Graham Devereux, who led the research, said: "It is possible that declining intake of vitamin E in the last 50 years may have contributed to the increase in asthma in children." [Injury Watch, 3 September]

Romanian children abandoned in some remote institutions are being housed in appalling conditions and sometimes offered for sale, according to British reporters. An ITV News team posed as foreigners looking to buy babies and were offered a baby abandoned in a hospital for £5,300. They were also introduced to a pregnant 17-year old girl who wanted to sell her unborn child. Later posing as aid workers, they say they discovered a number of state-run institutions where children were looked after in terrible conditions. [The Scotsman, 4 September]

Correction: Re Colombia - the quote attributed to Cardinal López Trujillo in Friday's SPUC news summary has been disputed: Cardinal López Trujillo has said that the story first attributing the quote to him, issued by Colombian news outlets, was false. We apologise for any distress or confusion. Paul Tully, SPUC.

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