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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Arkansas bans partial-birth abortion

25 February 2009

Arkansas has banned partial-birth abortion. Ms Dawn Creekmore, a Democrat, sponsored the bill which was decisively approved by both legislative houses and signed by Mr Mike Beebe, state governor. Planned Parenthood wanted the measure to allow the procedure if a mother's health was threatened. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons said it could not envisage such circumstances. [LifeSiteNews, 23 February]

A man in eastern England whose neck was broken is experiencing less paralysis after being treated with his own marrow-cells. Mr Michael Flounders, 52, received stem cell therapy in Ecuador in 2007 and can now move muscles he could not move before. The cells were injected in the part of his neck where he was injured 21 years ago. [EADT, 24 February] Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and similar diseases could be treated using nerve cells created from skin. University of California Los Angeles scientists write in the Stem Cells journal that they converted skin tissue into motor neurons. [Reuters, 24 February]

The head of reproductive medicine at a London, England, hospital is advising couples to wait for longer before having IVF. Dr Geeta Nargund of St George's Hospital, Tooting, suggests young women should begin by reducing stress and losing weight. Professor Bill Ledger of Sheffield University said IVF was unpleasant and stressful. Success rates declined after the age of 30. Our source cites the increased likelihood of multiple births after IVF. [Daily Mail, 24 February]

The mother who had IVF octuplets in California is said to have refused to allow the stored embryos to be destroyed. Ms Nadya Suleman was reportedly responding to criticism from her mother because she also had six other children. She said the embryos were lives and could not bear the prospect of their being implanted in another woman. [Independent, 24 February] Ms Suleman's former boyfriend has asked for a paternity test on the octuplets. Mr Denis Beaudoin says he donated sperm for her and wants to help her. [Telegraph, 23 February]

A married couple in Scotland have published their opposing views on whether the wife should donate her eggs. Mr Stephen Barr objects to Mrs Jackie Barr's having had eggs extracted last year. Both aged 29, they have two children. Mrs Barr wants to help other couples but her mother feels as if her grandchildren are being given to strangers. Mr Barr fears for the effect of the process on his wife's health and is concerned that any resulting children could contact her one day. [Daily Mail, 24 February] A parent of a baby conceived with donated gametes has found that the child has 55 brothers and sisters. Cambridge University, England, researchers say increasing numbers of families are tracking down such siblings. The study of nearly 800 parents, described in the Human Reproduction journal, was mainly on American couples. [Reuters, 24 February]

Safeguards in Oregon do not stop abuses of its law allowing assisted suicide, says Mr Wesley Smith, a lawyer and member of the Discovery Institute, Washington, DC. He writes that two cancer patients in the state were told their treatment was too expensive but that the government would pay for them to kill themselves. The Journal of Internal Medicine had reported that suicide was being offered when patients were not suffering greatly. Few people requesting suicide were investigated to see if they were depressed. [Telegraph, 21 February] Mr Smith addressed a meeting in London on Monday. [John Smeaton, 24 February]

The Catholic church in Scotland has warned that legalisation of assisted suicide there could lead to depressed people killing themselves. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, warned that vulnerable people could be manipulated. Ms Margo MacDonald MSP, who is proposing the bill, dismissed the concerns as nonsense. [Scotland on Sunday, 22 February] A case in the Indian supreme court would reportedly legalise euthanasia, and the country's Catholic bishops have expressed concern. [Catholic News Agency, 23 February]

Pro-life people are sending empty red envelopes to President Obama to commemorate children killed by abortion. Life Issues Institute of Ohio are involved in organising the campaign and have produced such envelopes which can be ordered online for $10 per 100 plus shipping. [John Smeaton, 21 February] CNN has banned a pro-life advertisement which deals with human potential in the context of Mr Obama's becoming president. The television broadcaster has shown an ad by NARAL Pro-Choice America. say CNN's censorship will only help publicise their film further. [LifeSiteNews, 20 February]

An 18-year-old man in northern England killed himself after his former girlfriend reportedly had an abortion. Mr Leon Boulton of Humberside hanged himself. The un-named girl told an inquest that Mr Boulton wanted the baby to be allowed to live; the pregnancy may have been ectopic. [Yorkshire Post, 24 February]

A proposed abortion law in Jamaica has been compared to Nazi policy. Rev H Earl Thames was speaking to a parliamentary committee about a provision for the abortion of disabled children after 22 weeks' gestation. [Gleaner, 23 February]

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