News, 8 December 2004

Researchers from the Universities of Sydney and Oxford have questioned the theory that bigger babies grow into healthier adults, Reuters reports. The analysis of studies covering more than 74,000 people across the world found that cholesterol levels in adults who had a low birth weight were only slightly higher than those who had a high birth weight. [Reuters, 8 December]
Euthanasia advocate Jack Kevorkian has lost another appeal for his sentence to be commuted on health grounds, The Guardian reports. Mr Kevorkian is serving a prison sentence for murder after he poisoned a man who had Lou Gehrig's disease and the videotape was broadcast on television. He is not eligible for parole until 2007. [The Guardian, 8 December]
The strongly pro-euthanasia account of a 91-year-old woman's suicide published last week has provoked a flurry of letters on the issue of euthanasia. Alison Davis of No Less Human who has spina bifida, hydrocephalus, osteoporosis and emphysema, expressed alarm at the implication that suicide is 'a good choice' and stated that people in her position need 'not legalised killing but help and support to live with dignity until we die naturally.' [The Times of London, 8 December]
A poster campaign advertising the morning after pill has been withdrawn by Schering Health Care after a wave of complaints. The advert read: "Immaculate contraception? If only" and caused offense to many Catholics. [Yahoo News, 7 December] In a press release, Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary commented: "The offensive nature of the advertisement was a reflection of the offensive nature of the abortion-inducing morning after pill. Despite withdrawing the advertisement, Schering continue to offend against the truth and against life by promoting the drug as a contraceptive, when in many cases it causes an early abortion." [SPUC Press Release]
A study commissioned by the UK government has questioned the high public expectations of the biotech industry to provide cures for life-threatening diseases. Paul Nightingale of the University of Sussex and Paul Martin of the Institute for the study of Biorisks and Society concluded that "there is now a substantial mismatch between the real world and the unrealistic expectation of policy-makers, consultants and social scientists." They added that a lack of realism leads to "poor investment decisions, misplaced hope and distorted priorities." [Bioedge, 8 December]
A Montana lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would provide death certificates for aborted babies. Pro-abortion advocates described the bill as "mean-spirited" but Roger Koopman described it as "a small way for our society to acknowledge that a life did exist, even if they didn't get to see a sunrise or blow out a birthday candle." [Billings Gazette, 7 December]
A British woman who was paralysed during a riding accident has been successfully treated with stem cells taken from the lining of her nose. Kim Gould, 43, can now crawl and has sensation in her lower back and abdomen. Dr Carlos Lima of the Egaz Moniz Hospital in Lisbon has performed adult stem cell transplants on 34 patients and opposes the use of embryonic stem cells. He said: "I am opposed but not only for ethical reasons. Mother Nature made embryonic stem cells to proliferate and adult stem cells to replace and repair. To defy Mother Nature's laws is, at least, dangerous." The Telegraph's editorial highlights the benefits of adult stem cell therapy and the risk of embryonic stem cells developing into teratomas, but persists in arguing that embryonic stem cells have greater potential to cure disease. [The Telegraph, 6 December]
The director of the Dutch abortion boat run by Women on Waves is to promote a new anti-Catholic book in Argentina. Rebecca Gomperts will be present at an event to mark the release of "The 11th Commandment: Woman, thou shalt not choose." [Catholic World News, 7 December]
The Kenyan winner of this year's Nobel peace prize has described abortion as 'wrong', LifeSiteNews.com reports. Professor Wangari Maathai, who was awarded the prize for her involvement in women's rights and the environment, said: "There is no reason why anybody who has been conceived, shouldn't be given the opportunity to be born and to live a happy life. The fact that a life like that is terminated is wrong." [LifeSiteNews.com, 7 December]
The UK's Daily Mail newspaper has published an article against the Mental Capacity Bill entitled "A Licence for Killing". Melanie Phillips describes the dehydration and starvation of incapacitated patients as 'unthinkable and abhorrent practices' that will be codified into law by the bill. She writes: "It is quite astonishing that despite its apparent obsession with human rights, Parliament is about to legislate to destroy the most fundamental right of all - the right to life - and to sanction the deliberate killing and the morally indefensible exploitation of those who cannot defend themselves." [The Daily Mail, 8 December]

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