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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Georgia senate passes law against embryo abuse

17 March 2009

The senate of Georgia, USA, has passed a bill to ban the creation of human embryos for research. Republicans removed a measure granting personhood to embryos to get the law through. The state governor supports the measure which also needs to be approved by the other legislative chamber. President Obama recently decided to resume federal funding for research on new embryo lines. [Associated Press on Access NorthGa, 12 March] Mr Mike Reynolds has introduced a similar bill in the Oklahoma legislature. Arizona and Mississippi have forbidden universities from using government money on destructive embryo research and Texas may do something similar. Louisiana has banned research on IVF embryos. California, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have passed laws to liberalise their research regime. [Reuters, 17 March]

The British government's chief medical advisor says that patients in pain are being neglected by the state health system. Sir Liam Donaldson stated that pain control specialists only manage to see around one person in seven among the estimated eight million people who are in chronic pain. [Telegraph, 16 March]

A Catholic prelate in Florida has likened reproductive technology to the irresponsible creation of artificial human life in Frankenstein. Rt Rev Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando, wrote that the protagonist in Mary Shelley's 19th century novel failed to consider the consequences of his actions. Artificial reproduction devalued human sexuality, and science had to be ethical to serve humanity. He mentioned the recent case of IVF octuplets and pointed out that most IVF embryos were "sacrificed". Each embryo was a human individual. [Catholic News Agency, 16 March] A separated New Zealand couple are in dispute over the fate of their four frozen embryos. Mrs Dawn Thwaite's former partner will only consent to their being used for research but she wants them implanted in her womb. Mrs Thwaite, a Catholic, says: "They are precious little lives with nobody to speak for them but me." [New Zealand Herald, 16 March]

The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care has spoken again of the case of the late Ms Eluana Englaro who last month was dehydrated to death in Italy at her father's request and with court approval. Speaking in his native Mexico, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán said: "[W]hoever kills an innocent person is a murderer. Whoever does not kill is not. This is what I have always said." If medicine could not cure patients, it should be used to ease their pain. While extraordinary and burdensome means of prolonging life were not approved, Ms Englaro had not been ill and deserved food and water. [Catholic News Agency, 13 March]

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