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Defending life from the moment of conception

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SPUC condemns HFEA's "cash-for-eggs" donation scheme

22 February 2007

SPUC has condemned yesterday's decision by the UK government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to allow women to be paid £250 in "expenses" for donating their eggs for use in embryo experimentation. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "For poorer women, this amount will be an incentive to donate their eggs, and it is unethical, dangerous and unnecessary. It is unethical because it is aimed at creating even more human lives in the laboratory, many of whom are killed outright or in dubious experiments. It is dangerous because the risks associated with the drugs given to stimulate the ovaries and the egg harvesting process include renal failure, infertility, cancer and even death. It is unnecessary because successful ethical alternatives to embryo destruction exist." [SPUC, 21 February]

SPUC has criticised Mr Tony Blair's UK government. John Smeaton, national director, was interviewed by Zenit, a news agency specialising in Catholic matters. He said: "Under Tony Blair's leadership, the government and parliament have plunged Britain into an ethical abyss, in which there is no right or wrong but simply administrative and technical questions to be resolved by the implementation of new anti-life evils. Two of the first things Tony Blair did in office was to establish a strategy on teenage pregnancy and to revive proposals to change the law on end-of-life treatment. The former involves supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parents' knowledge or consent; the latter has led to a law -- the Mental Capacity Act 2005 -- which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and to dehydrate to death vulnerable patients." The UK had also exported anti-life and anti-family values. Rome needed to appoint courageous bishops. [Zenit, 16 February] The URL for the full interview is: http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=103112

A 13-year girl was ordered by an Italian judge to undergo an abortion, as demanded by her mother, despite her desire to keep her child. LifeSite reports that Judge Giuseppe Cocilovo sitting in the Court of Minors ordered the abortion. Italian law does not allow a minor to decide whether to keep or abort her child. Valentina is now in the psychiatric unit of Regina Margherita children's hospital in Turin, for wanting to commit suicide. [LifeSite, 19 February]

The Indian government is planning to open a series of orphanages throughout the country, in a bid to stem the widespread practice of female foeticide and infanticide. A UNICEF report said that 7,000 fewer girls are born in India every day than would be expected. The gender imbalance is greatest in the richest districts, where couples can afford ultrasound examination. Although sex determination tests are illegal, there is little law enforcement. [Guardian, 19 February]

A psychology professor has criticised psychiatrists for ignoring the emotional impact of abortion, particularly on men. Dr Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist at the student health centre of the University of California, Los Angeles, says researchers have barely scratched the surface of post-abortion trauma in women, and fewer have examined the impact on men. She cites the work of Dr Arthur Shostak who found that 80% said the trip to the abortion centre was the worst day of their lives. Numbers expressing regret increased with time. Dr Grossman has written a book Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student, in part to "highlight the existence of an invisible group: women (and men) with emotional scars from an abortion." [LifeNews, 19 February]

Lawmakers in Rwanda are drafting a law that would give incentives to limit families to three children. Rwanda has a population of about 8.8 million and average fertility of 6.1 children per woman. Mr Francois Sekamondo of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning says that the annual increase in population of 3% "is putting a lot of pressure on the economy since resources have to be thinly spread to cater for the year-in-year-out increment." He announced a campaign to promote family planning by offering advice at every hospital or health centre, providing free contraception to women, and comprehensive sex education in schools. [Medical News Today, 20 February]

A baby born at only 22 weeks' gestation has returned home with her parents. Amillia Taylor weighed 284 gm (10 ounces) and was less than 26 cm (10 inches) long when she was born last October. After almost four months in an incubator and receiving oxygen at the Baptist Children's Hospital, Florida, she still weighs less than 2kg (4lb 6oz). "We weren't too optimistic, but she proved us all wrong," said Dr William Smalling. [Telegraph, 20 February]

The socialist candidate for the French presidency, Mme Ségolène Royal, has promised in a TV appearance to push through a law legalising euthanasia in some form, if she is elected. [Independent, 20 February]

A team of Japanese scientists has grown normal-looking teeth from primitive cells, and transplanted them successfully into mice. Primitive cells (successors of stem cells) were taken at the precursor stage of a developing tooth. Takashi Tsuji and colleagues of the Tokyo University of Science in Chiba recount their research in the journal Nature Methods, and claim that "This study thus provides the first evidence of a successful reconstitution of an entire organ via the transplantation of bioengineered material." [Reuters, 19 February]

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