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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Science body welcomes MPs' report on embryo bill

3 August 2007

The science academy of the UK and Commonwealth has welcomed parliamentarians' support for human-animal hybrids. The Royal Society was responding to Wednesday's report by the peers' and MPs' committee considering the government's draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill. Sir Richard Gardner, chairman of the society's stem cell group, said: "We hope that the new legislation permits the creation of all types of human-animal embryos for research ...". He objected to the proposed merger of the two regulatory bodies which control fertility and the use of human tissue. [Royal Society, 2 August] CARE, the Christian charity, welcomed proposals for a free parliamentary vote on hybrids but said that no scientific case had been made for their creation. [Inspire, 26 August]

Ovarian tissue has been transplanted between sisters by medics at a Catholic university. Ms Teresa Alvaro, aged 37 and infertile since she was 20, has ovulated after receiving grafts from Ms Sandra Alvaro, 34, at Louvain university, Belgium. The procedure has only previously been successfully performed on identical twins. [Times, 2 August]

The South Korean scientist who falsely claimed to have cloned a human being appears actually to have caused human eggs to form embryos without their being fertilised. American researchers examining the work of Dr Hwang Woo-Suk believe that he unknowingly performed so-called parthenogenesis. The source for this story suggests the process has since been repeated by others. [Independent, 3 August]

An unidentified pharmacist in Staffordshire, England, reportedly refused to supply morning-after pills to a 26-year-old married woman on grounds of conscience. A spokeswoman for the pharmacists' professional body said that their ethical code required practitioners who objected to providing such drugs to refer customers to colleagues who would. Mrs Sarah Luke, the person requesting the pills at Lloyds pharmacy, Hednesford, expressed anger. [icCannock, 2 August]

Women in eastern India recently protested against the sex-selective abortion of female children. The Lancet medical journal is said to have reported that 10 million girls have been aborted in India in the past 20 years. [Reuters in the Times, 2 August]

A pro-life group wants all US abortion clinics to display a sign saying that women cannot be forced into having an abortion. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign supports the national implementation of an Arkansas law. [CNA on EWTN, 2 August]

A conference on stem cells is to be held at Heriot Watt university, Edinburgh, Scotland, in April. It is intended subsequently to hold similar meetings annually in various parts of the UK. [Herald, 3 August]

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