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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Plunder of aborted babies for stroke research tragic and offensive, says SPUC

5 December 2006

Plunder of aborted babies for stroke research tragic and offensive, says SPUC London, 5 December 2006 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has condemned the proposed use of cells from unborn children killed by abortion for research into treating stroke patients. ReNeuron, a British company, is to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration to transplant stem cells made from human foetal tissue into the brains of stroke patients. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "Naturally, it's important to do everything possible to help stroke patients, but babies should not be killed and then plundered for the use of medical science. It is tragic and offensive that aborted babies should be used in this way. Abortion is wrong and is not made any better by using the dead baby as a source of experimental transplant material. Such research is quite unethical and immoral because it ignores the unborn baby's right to life. "It is also tragic that such unethical research is being held out as a hope for stroke patients. Patients may have ethical objections to the use of aborted tissue themselves. Research using stem cells extracted from fetal tissue has been largely unsuccessful, even damaging to patients. The financial resources put into this research would be better used in researching promising ethical alternatives which respect human dignity, such as the use of adult stem cells." Notes for editors: Babies killed by induced abortion are the principal source of foetal tissue for research. The bodies of the dead may only properly be used for treatment if consent is given, but a mother aborting her baby cannot ethically provide such consent. There is a danger that some women would be more willing to have an abortion if they could donate foetal tissue. Humanity has long recognized that there are certain things about human beings which are non-negotiable. In the aftermath of the Second World War, and in the light of human rights violations under the Third Reich, the world enunciated the basis of human relations in terms of fundamental values as human rights. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. "The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth" (Preamble to the Convention on the Rights of the Child) The right to life and the inherent dignity, worth and equal and inalienable rights, of all members of the human family must be protected by law. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first of several international instruments which have consistently stated, as a feature of international law, that the inherent and inviolable dignity of every member of the human family must be the foundation for an examination of individual and communal rights and responsibilities.

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