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First “three person baby” born

29 September 2016

Dr John Zhang, holding the baby reported to be the first born with DNA from three people. Photograph: New Hope Fertility Centre

The world's first baby has been born using a "three person" fertility technique, according to the New Scientist.

The controversial mitochondrial donation technique, in which the mother's nucleus is transplanted into a donor egg, before being fertilised, was used by a US team, who travelled to Mexico where there are no laws to prohibit the procedure.

The BBC reports that Dr John Zhang, medical director at the New Hope Fertility Centre in New York City, and his colleagues used the method to make five embryos, of which only one developed normally.

Critics have called the work "irresponsible", as well as questioning whether we are only now hearing the success story while failed attempts could have gone unreported.

The technique, which breaches an international agreement against genetic engineering in humans, was approved by the UK Parliament in October 2015.

See SPUC's 2014 Press Release responding to the claim that mitochondrial donation may be safe for humans

Women are being pressured to abort babies with Down's syndrome, says actress Sally Phillips

The mother of three is presenting a documentary called "A world without Down's syndrome?"

Actress Sally Phillips, whose son Ollie has Down's syndrome, has been in the media this week ahead of her upcoming documentary on prenatal screening.

The Daily Mail reports that she was "horrified" after speaking to other mothers of babies with Down's syndrome about how medics had told them to screen and terminate their disabled children.

"If we deny someone the chance to be born because we've decided they won't meet some predetermined measure of status or achievement, then we've failed to grasp what it means to be human" she said.

The documentary, "A world without Down's syndrome?"; airs on BBC 2 on 5 October at 9pm.

"Don't repeal the Right to Life" says Irish MP

Sinn Fein TD (MP) Peadar Toibin, has written in the Irish Examiner about why he is not supporting calls to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

He writes that although his party believes that the Eighth Amendment, which upholds the equal right to life of the mother and baby, should be repealed and abortion allowed in some cases, he does not agree.

Mr Toibin explains that abortion discriminates against the disabled, minorities, and against girls, and reminds readers that over 200,000 Irish people are alive today because of the country's pro-life culture.

Opposing abortion in all circumstances, he said: "An unborn child is an individual living human being and therefore entitled to Human Rights. I believe Human Rights should be universal and that the most vulnerable sections of society should not be removed from these rights."

Channel 4 to broadcast attack on crisis pregnancy councillors

Channel 4's Dispatches programme is next week airing a programme called "Undercover: Britain's Abortion Extremists".  

The programme, which coincides with new attempts to introduce "buffer zones" around clinics, broadcasts on Wednesday 5 October at 11pm.

Dutch cardinal warns Canadian bishops about "slippery slope" of euthanasia

Willem Eijk, the Cardinal Archbishop of Utrecht, has warned a meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops about the "slippery slope" of euthanasia, which has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002.

He said that bishops in Canada, where euthanasia has recently been legalised, must continue to make moral arguments against it in the public square, and continue advocating for palliative care.

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