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Ruling Against Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Seen as "Callous"
U.S. Bishops' Aide Assails Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 8, 2004 ( A bishops' aide assailed a federal judge's decision that found the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional because some abortion doctors claim the procedure provides health benefits for women.

"In a callous opinion, peppered with the gruesome details of the killing of children three-fifths born, Federal Judge Richard Kopf ruled that partial-birth abortion must be available to abortion doctors under the Constitution," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

Under the heading "Mechanics," the Nebraska-based district court judge described testimony from doctors about how they kill children in a partial-birth abortion.

Dr. William Fitzhugh, for example, "uses forceps to compress the fetal skull in order to reduce its size and to ensure that the fetus is dead when it is removed."

Another witness, Dr. William Knorr, uses "a finger" or "scissor" to puncture the baby's head. The opinion includes admissions from abortion doctors that babies are alive during a partial-birth abortion and that the baby's heart can be seen beating before the head is punctured or crushed.

Judge Kopf said his ruling is "guided ... by the principles laid down by the Supreme Court" in Stenberg v. Carhart, a 2000 case which originated in his court.

The bishops' aide, Ruse, said: "Four years ago five justices of the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution will allow no legal protection for children from the violence of partial-birth abortion, as long as there are abortion doctors who favor it," Ruse said. "Judge Kopf's ruling shows this 'abortionist's veto' in action."

"The Supreme Court should be untainted by abortion ideology and respectful of the right to life of every human being without exception," said Ruse.

This ruling, like two previous rulings against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act from federal judges in California and New York, will likely be appealed. more

French Bishops Against British Human Cloning Permit
August 12, 2004

The French Bishops reacted against the British permit for cloning of human embryos granted to researchers of Newcastle University. This was the first license for human cloning given in Europe.

The French Bishops declared that "the end does not justify the means." Msgr. Stanislas Lalanne, spokesman of the Conference of Bishops of France, said that such a move represents a "very, very grave danger for the future of humanity." "Creating an embryo risks totally placing the human embryo in the range of things," he said. "And I think for the future of humanity it is essential to consider the embryo as belonging to humanity." more

Vatican slams human cloning
Vatican City: August 12, 2004

The Vatican reiterated its firm opposition yesterday to human cloning after the British government gave a research team permission to use human cloning for medical research purposes.

"The Holy Father has always unequivocally condemned all forms of human cloning, even for therapeutic purposes," Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.

Navarro-Valls said the Vatican would make a detailed assessment on the British research once more details emerge of the research team's plans.

Pope John Paul has vehemently opposed human cloning in speeches and official Vatican documents.

He said cloning for transplant purposes was morally unacceptable if it involves "the manipulation and destruction of human embryos", even when its proposed goal is good in itself.

"Science itself points to other forms of therapeutic intervention which would not involve cloning or the use of embryonic cells, but rather would make use of stem cells taken from adults," the head of the Roman Catholic Church told an international congress of transplant specialists in 2000.

"This is the direction that research must follow if it wishes to respect the dignity of each and every human being, even at an embryonic stage," the Pope said.

Britain gave the go ahead yesterday for human cloning, granting a licence to scientists bidding to become the first in Europe to create stem cells used in medical research from a cloned human embryo.

The green light was given to scientists from the Centre for Life at Newcastle University, northern England, who aim to use the stem cells cloned to treat serious diseases.

However they warn it will be at least five years, if not many more, before patients could receive stem cell treatments based on their work.

Stem cell technology is intended to create material that could one day treat diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other disorders, and not to make a cloned child, scientists say.

"We hope to start as soon as possible, because we have the background, we have the knowledge, we have everything here in Newcastle," the man leading the research, Doctor Miodrag Stojkovic, said.

Human embryo cloning has been pioneered in South Korea, with a team from Seoul National University announcing in February it had created stem cells using the technique. more

Korean Prof. Hwang Woo-seok Avoiding Ethical Problems

August 10, 2004 - The first scientist who succeeded in cloning embryonic stem cells using human eggs is now working on a new technology that doesnt require human or animal eggs to clone stem cells in order particularly to avoid ethical problems. 

Prof. Hwang Woo-seok announced in February this year his successful attempt in cloning human embryos to the blastocyst stage.  But in a press conference with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle, he declared that it would be difficult for his technique to be duplicated. "In my humble opinion, it's not so easy to imitate our technology because the human oocyte (or egg) is very sticky."

When South Korea passed laws governing cloning research, Hwang said he has stopped his experiments while waiting for a license to continue.  He urged all countries to implement a ban on cloning for the purpose of creating human babies, a questionable statement that implied the faulty rationalization of many scientists  that a human embryo is not a human baby; an attempt to reestablish ethical ground after  pioneering a technique for unethical destruction of human beings at the blastocyst age. more

Japan Govt Panel OKs Some Human Embryo Cloning: Media
June 23, 2004 07, Reuters

A Japanese government panel decided on Wednesday to permit human embryos to be cloned for research, a controversial process that has set off international debate, media reports said.

Supporters of medical cloning say so-called therapeutic cloning studies have huge potential for treating diseases and saving lives. But the issue is contentious, and opponents fear such research could lead to the cloning of human beings.

However, news agency Kyodo said, the panel's decision will not permit cloning for basic research until proper conditions are met, for instance, the creation of a government system to evaluate research.

Public broadcaster NHK said the decision by the bioethics subcommittee of the Council for Science and Technology Policy was reached after proponents forced a vote.

The council is chaired by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Ten of the 15 members who attended voted in favor of the decision, which is to be included in a final report to be issued by the panel next month, NHK said.

Medical cloning studies have become a real possibility after South Korean and U.S. researchers said in February they had cloned a human embryo and extracted from it sought-after cells called embryonic stem cells, in the first published report of cloned human stem cells.

The United Nations General Assembly has been debating the creation of a U.N. treaty to ban human cloning and the most contentious issue is whether to allow therapeutic cloning.

Members have been split on whether to allow such research to continue or to adopt a broad cloning ban.

Stem Cells May Not Be Answer to Heart Repair
Studies find they couldn't rejuvenate damaged heart muscle

by Robert Preidt | Mar 22 '04

In a study that contradicts earlier findings, Stanford University researchers conclude that blood-forming stem cells can't repair damaged heart muscle after a heart attack.

In recent years, several studies have reported that blood-forming stem cells found in bone marrow could lodge in the heart and repair heart muscle damaged by heart attack.

But this new Stanford University School of Medicine study found that, in mice, these blood-forming stem cells do lodge in damaged hearts but don't transform into heart muscle tissue.

The study appears in the March 21 online issue of Nature. Another study in the same issue used slightly different methods but reached the same conclusion.

In related news, two trials using stem cells to repair heart damage were halted due to dangerous results. South Korean scientists stopped a trial in which heart attack patients were given infusions of their own stems cells. Many of the patients' heart arteries opened by the stem cell treatment unexpectedly began to close again.

A similar trial in dogs was halted by University of California at Davis scientists. They detected a high incidence of tiny pockets of cell death called microinfarcts in the dogs. more

Vatican Against In-Vitro Fertilization
Vatican, March 17, 2004:

Vatican condemns in-vitro fertilization as illicit treatment of fertility problems and further condemns the destruction of embryos related to the process. The Vatican declares that embryos are human with rights and dignity. more

Trafficking Of Human Eggs And Sperms Online
London, 23 February 2004:

Artificial procreation technology creates web-business in the buy and sell of human eggs and sperm cells. Aside from making profits from the misery of infertile couples, businessmen also make money by selling mail-order sperms to single women and lesbian couples.

The Catholic Church condemns artificial procreation including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and it also condemns homosexual unions. more

The Pope says NO to Artificial Procreation
Vatican, February 22, 2004:

The Pope states that the procreation designed by God must not be substituted by artificial procreation, “a mere technological intervention, impoverished of human value and subjected to the determinisms of technical and instrumental activity”. The Pope appeals to the faithful to reject "the suggestions of a substitutive technology of real paternity and maternity" that is "harmful to the dignity both of the parents as well as the children." more

Suing for Right to Live
United Kingdom:

Leslie Burke, a 44-year old patient with terminal neurological disease, is suing to ensure that he will be given nourishment through feeding tube when his condition deteriorates. more

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