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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Lords amendment against disability abortions

5 December 2007

An amendment that would remove foetal abnormality as a ground for abortion has been tabled in the House of Lords. Baroness Masham of Ilton, who is disabled, has proposed the amendment to the British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in order to remove the discrimination that allows babies with anomalies to be aborted up to birth, whereas there is a time limit of 24 weeks for able-bodied babies. [Times, 1 December] Peers will also consider a proposal to allow gametes grown in laboratories from stem-cells to be used in IVF. Lord Patel, former president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, is expected to make the proposal so that, should the technology become available, it would be permitted without further legislation. [Sunday Times, 2 December]

Equipment that will enable doctors to perform keyhole surgery on unborn babies is to be installed at the Queen Mother's Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland. The fibre-optic foetoscope can be used to diagnose a number of foetal complications, and to facilitate corrective surgery. At the moment mothers have to travel to London for this treatment. [Scotland on Sunday, 2 December]

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, have succeeded in controlling the growth of human embryonic stem-cells into bone cells which were then used to repair holes in the skulls of mice. Nathaniel Hwang, a PhD student, presenting the research at the American Society for Cell Biology's annual meeting in Washington, DC, said that the key to using embryonic stem-cells for regenerative medicine lay in developing such control techniques. [Telegraph, 3 December]

A British man who privately donated sperm to a lesbian couple is being made to pay child support. Mr Andy Bathie of London has no legal rights over the two children, but the government's Child Support Agency is having money removed from his wages. The couple split up and the children's mother says she was forced to tell the Agency the name the father or face loss of her (state-funded) income support. . [Daily Mail, 3 December]

Mr Henry J Hyde, the former Republican congressman and pro-life campaigner, died recently aged 83. Mr Hyde sat in congress for 32 years and an amendment of his restricted federal funding for abortions. Last month he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Mr George Bush and last year he was named a Knight of St Gregory by Pope Benedict in recognition of his pro-life work. [Catholic News Service, 29 November]

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