Scientists call for embryonic research limit to be doubled
5 December 2016
Scientists will this week call for the current 14 day limit for carrying out experiments on human embryos to be extended to 28 days.
The proposal will be made by Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, of the Francis Crick Institute in London, and Professor Simon Fishel, head of the CARE Fertility Group, at a conference this Wednesday held by the Progress Educational Trust.
The move follows developments that have allowed researchers to double the time embryos can be kept alive in the laboratory. The scientists say that increasing the limit will give greater insight into congenital conditions.
Mary Warnock, who originally proposed the 14 day limit, has said that she thinks it should be maintained.
Dr Anthony McCarthy of SPUC said "In 1984 the Warnock Report on embryo experimentation refused to examine closely when personhood began. Instead it came up with an arbitrary 14 day limit after which the destruction of new human embryos would be, not just permitted, but enforced. Now others who are similarly uninterested in fundamental questions concerning the rights of new human persons wish to expand the scope to create, keep and destroy those persons. That they wish to do so, in part, to help avoid miscarriage is morally obtuse."
Philip Nitschke launches euthanasia for everyone campaign
Exit International founder Philip Nitschke has launched a "militant" campaign to push for unrestricted adult access to euthanasia.
Nitschke announced the launch of a subdivision of his organisation called Exit Action, which said it would take "a militant pro-euthanasia position" to coordinate direct action strategies and force legislative change.
"Exit Action believes that a peaceful death, and access to the best euthanasia drugs, is a right of all competent adults, regardless of sickness or permission from the medical profession."
Nitschke early this year lost his legal battle to keep his registration to practice medicine in Australia, after a tribunal ruled he posed a serious risk to the public, and could undermine confidence in the medical profession.
Pro-life students at Strathclyde banned
The University of Strathclyde Students' Association (USSA) has passed a policy which bans "anti-choice" groups from existing on campus.
This comes after a two-year struggle by Strathclyde Life Action, a group of pro-life students, to be affiliated as an official society, and is the latest in a long line of "pro-choice" policies to be passed at students' unions.
USSA decided that "Allowing an anti-choice group to form would be a barrier to freedom, equality and body autonomy for those with uteruses on campus and therefore not only violate existing standing policy, but also act against the interests of a large amount of the student population."
Jamie McGowan, a member of Strathclyde Life Action, said: "It is deplorable that a modern university is incapable of facilitating debate on a societal or medical issue such as abortion."
In a press statement released on facebook, the group said that the policy violated their right to free speech under the European Convention of Human Rights, and vowed to fight the decision.