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US abortion lobby endorses Obama

13 June 2008

Emily's List, the pro-abortion movement, is backing Senator Barack Obama for US president. The group's leader says Senator John McCain, Republican, would overturn the Roe v. Wade judgement which permitted abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America has already endorsed Mr Obama. [LifeNews, 6 June]

The English high court has agreed to let a woman with multiple sclerosis seek a ruling on whether her husband may be prosecuted if he assists her plan to commit suicide overseas. Ms Debbie Purdy, 45, is considering going to Belgium or Switzerland accompanied by Mr Omar Puente. [BBC, 11 June] SPUC will be intervening in the case, as it did in the somewhat similar 2002 matter of Mrs Dianne Pretty. [SPUC, 11 June] Alison Davis of No Less Human, part of SPUC, said: "I understand completely the despair and blackness which causes some disabled and ill people to feel suicidal, because I once felt the same." However, she also said: "Allowing assisted suicide or weakening the law against it would compromise the protection from harm every vulnerable person deserves. The assumption that dying and incurably disabled people are, in effect, right to want to die and better off dead would be confirmed." [SPUC, 11 June]

The House of Commons committee considering the British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill has approved a measure which would mean that the children of lesbian couples could have two women's names on their birth certificates. That part of the bill cannot now be amended and the ruling Labour party will tell all its MPs to vote for the bill. [Evening Standard, 11 June]

Chinese authorities will reportedly reverse the sterilisation of parents whose children died in a recent earthquake, as well as offering IVF to bereaved families. The population commission suggested that parents of children disabled by the disaster might also be helped. [BBC, 6 June] China has a policy restricting couples to one child.

The British Fertility Society is suggesting that there is no evidence which supports the usefulness of embryo-testing in IVF treatment and that it should no longer be routinely offered. The society questions claims that pre-implantation genetic screening can help treatment for over-35s, women who miscarry and those for whom IVF often fails. It suggests the £2,000 technique could actually impair treatment and wants it restricted to clinical trials. [PA on Channel 4, 12 June, and Daily Mail, 12 June]

Professor Lord Winston, the British fertility expert, has expressed regret at the continuing low IVF success-rate. The rate, he said, was 30% and practitioners tended to treat more promising patients. There needed to be a better way of getting good ova and pre-implantation testing should be improved. [Telegraph, 9 June] Anthony Ozimic of SPUC commented: "IVF is wrong, not only because it entails the destruction of embryos not selected for implantation, but also because it abuses human beings by subjecting them to the control of technicians and technology. Fertility researchers should promote ways which respect children as gifts expressing their parents' love for each other, instead of reducing children to lifestyle commodities or research material. Natural fertility techniques are far more successful than IVF in assisting couples to conceive."

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