News, 28 December 2006

A judge in Kansas has refused to hear criminal charges against a notorious abortionist. Attorney General Phill Kline, an opponent of abortion, filed 30 charges against Dr George Tiller, accusing him of performing 15 late term abortions in 2003 on patients aged 10-22 and not properly reporting details to the state. Sedgwick County Judge Paul W. Clark rejected the charges on jurisdictional grounds and then also rejected an appeal by Kline to reinstate the charges. [The Guardian, 27 December]

An Irish woman is to take her fight to use her frozen embryos to the Supreme Court. The woman, who is unnamed, separated from her husband, who then refused his permission for the woman to use the embryos, which are stored in a fertility clinic in Dublin. A High Court ruling in November said that the frozen embryos were not protected under Ireland's constitution protecting unborn children, because they were not implanted in the womb. The woman's lawyer, Alan Daverson, said: "My client states that it is never easy to lose litigation, especially litigation which concerns the fundamental issues at stake in this case presenting uniquely difficult questions of law, medicine and science. She is nevertheless determined to appeal so that this issue may finally be determined in the interests of her family and indeed, in the wide public interest." [Life Site, 22 December]

An American stem cell scientist who opposes work on embryos is facing being sacked from his university. Professor James Sherley, who carries out research with adult stem cells, has been refused tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, despite winning awards for his research and his teaching. He accused the university of racism and threatened to go on hunger strike in protest. In a letter to his colleagues he wrote that he was opposed by professors for whom his research "poses an intellectually disruptive threat" and said that they "might tolerate and even celebrate such a challenge from a white faculty member, but never from one who is black." [The Guardian, 27 December]

Posters are being displayed across the north-western town of Bootle feature cartoon characters warning of the risks of too much alcohol - including pregnancy. Dr. Janet Atherton, director of public health with South Sefton Primary Care Trust, said: "We want young people to think about the damaging and dangerous effects that too much alcohol can have on their lives. Not only can it have serious implications on their physical health, it can also leave them vulnerable to taking risks with their sexual health that could lead to sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy." [Bootle Times, 28 December]

An Indian court has given elephants the same status as humans in a recent ruling. The Rajasthan High Court gave the owner of an elephant killed in a working accident £6,850, treating it as a "living creature equivalent to a human being". Saddique Khan, the owner of the elephant, argued that the elephant should be considered to be of equal value to a human because she responded to commands, performed tricks and was the main financial provider for his family. [Life Site, 22 December]

To subscribe to SPUC's email information services, please visit www.spuc.org.uk/em-signup. The reliability of the news herein is dependent on that of the cited sources, which are paraphrased rather than quoted. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the society. © Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, 2014