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When ideology drives science

April 15th, 2014 Jill Posted in Abortion, Homosexuality, Medical Ethics Comments Off

From CMF

In July 1949, the New England Journal of Medicine printed an article by Dr Leo Alexander titled 'Medical Science under Dictatorship'. (1)
 
In it, he explains what happens to science when it 'becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy' of a political ideology.
'Irrespective of other ideologic trappings', he argues, the 'guiding philosophic principle of recent dictatorships' is to replace 'moral, ethical and religious values' with 'rational utility'.
 
Alexander eloquently demonstrates how 'medical science in Nazi Germany collaborated with this Hegelian trend' and became the source of 'propaganda' which was 'highly effective in perverting public opinion and public conscience, in a remarkably short time'.
 
This expressed itself in a rapid decline in standards of professional ethics and led ultimately to the German medical profession's active participation in 'the mass extermination of the chronically sick' and of 'those considered socially disturbing or racially and ideologically unwanted'.
 
Britain is not Nazi Germany and is a democracy rather than a dictatorship. However, all democracies are also susceptible to influence by well organised minorities and it is very clear, in this post-Christian society, that the corridors of power are increasingly filled by those who do not subscribe to a Christian worldview and values.
 
In fact, many of those who occupy positions of influence in our 'mountains of culture' – universities, schools, media, judiciary, parliament institutions and entertainment industry – are actively hostile to Christianity and supportive of public policy directions consistent with a secular humanist agenda – eg pro-choice on abortion, supportive of 'assisted dying', embryo research and same sex marriage.
 
These issues are of course highly political. But is there any evidence that the 'medical science' marshalled to support them is in any way being influenced or shaped by secular humanist ideology?
 
Two articles in this edition of Triple Helix would say 'yes'. They make the case that financial or ideological vested interests can be used to stifle the truth when medical issues become highly politicised. Both articles question the way that British Royal Colleges have handled scientific evidence in their support for a certain public policy direction.
 
Read here
 
When ideology replaces science by Dr Peter May (surveying the role of ideology in the debate over homosexuality)
 
Women have a right to know the facts by Donna Harrison (examining the evidence for an abortion-breast cancer link)
 
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We Are Not Just Our DNA: The Ethical Dangers of Three-Parent Embryos

March 22nd, 2014 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Maureen L Condic, Public Discourse

The creation of three-parent embryos is not an innocuous medical treatment—it is a macabre form of eugenic human cloning.

The FDA is currently debating whether to approve testing of three procedures designed to enable women with a mitochondrial disease to produce healthy children.

Mitochondria are small structures within cells that supply the energy required for life. They are unusual in that they have their own DNA that produces some of the molecules required for energy metabolism. And when this mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has a mutation, medical conditions affecting energy production can result. A curiosity of mammalian biology is that all the mitochondria an individual has are inherited from the mother. So, if the mother carries a mutation in her mtDNA, her children will have the same mutation.

Proponents of conducting human experiments to generate “three-parent embryos” cast this procedure as a beneficent therapeutic approach to treat women with mitochondrial disease and allow them to bear healthy children. In reality, it is a macabre form of eugenic cloning, in which a human being with a medical condition is killed and his or her parts are used to create a new human being with an improved biological state.

Read here


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Tampering with embryos is tampering with human souls

March 21st, 2014 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Jacob Rees-Mogg Telegraph

The issue of three parent embryos – or rather mitochondrial transfer – has recently been debated in the House of Commons. It is highly controversial and, therefore, important to understand what is happening on a scientific and ethical basis.

Mitochondria are the organelles within every cell responsible for the generation of cellular Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) energy. It passes entirely in the maternal line and can carry serious diseases such as haemophilia. If the mitochondria of an egg were replaced with healthy mitochondria from a donor egg then this, in theory, would eradicate the disease from being passed on.

There are two means of replacing the mitochondria. First, there is maternal spindle transfer (MST) which takes place before In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). The spindle, which carries the genes in the nucleus of the egg, is removed from the healthy donor egg and replaced by a spindle taken from the egg of the disease-carrying mother. All other parts of the donor egg, including the healthy mitochondria, are left in place. The combined egg is then fertilised by the father’s sperm so in essence the embryo has three parents: the spindle mother, the egg donor mother and the father.

The second way is via a technique called pronuclear transfer (PNT) whereby two embryos are created by IVF. One is the embryo of the commissioning women – which will have its mother’s affected mitochondrial genes – and the other is the healthy embryo of an egg donor. The embryos are combined using a method somewhat similar to that in the cloning of Dolly the sheep. At the one-cell stage, the donor embryo’s pronuclei containing the nuclear genes are removed, killing that embryo. The partially-gutted donor embryo with its healthy mitochondria is then used to form a new embryo when the pronuclei “harvested” from the commissioning woman’s embryo are inserted. Harvesting the pronuclei from the commissioning woman’s embryo destroys that embryo.

Read here


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Stop fretting about 3-parent embryos and get ready for “multiplex parenting”

March 8th, 2014 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Michael Cook, Bio Edge

The controversy over three-parent embryos could soon be old hat. Writing in one of the world’s leading journals, one of Britain’s best-known bioethicists has outlined a strategy for creating children with four or more genetic parents. He calls it “multiplex parenting”.

John Harris, of the University of Manchester, and two colleagues, César Palacios-González and Giuseppe Testa contend in the Journal of Medical Ethics (free online) that this is one of many exciting consequences of using stem cells to create synthetic eggs and sperm. (Or as they prefer to call them, in vitro generated gametes (IVG).)

After the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells in 2007, theoretically any cell in the body can be created from something as simple as a skin cell. Mice have already been born from sperm and eggs created from stem cells. Harris and his colleagues believe that the day is not far off when scientists will be able to do the same with humans. In their paper, they spin an ethical justification for this and outline some possible uses.

First, is it ethical? Of course it is, so long as experiments on mice show that it is safe. After all, they write, this is already a much higher ethical bar than the one used for the first IVF babies. “If impractically high precautionary thresholds were decisive we would not have vaccines, nor IVF, nor any other advance. Nothing is entirely safe.” Besides, any children brought into the world are better off than if they never existed.

Read here


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Dorothy, We’re Not in Kansas Any More

March 5th, 2014 Chris Sugden Posted in Children/Family, Medical Ethics Comments Off

From Jennifer Lahl, The Witherspoon Institute          

Legislative battles are heating up across the United States on the issues of surrogacy contracts and the regulation of assisted reproduction. If we are truly concerned for the welfare of women and children, we must oppose such practices.

On January 27, the Kansas State Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare conducted hearings on proposed legislation that would make surrogate parent contracts void and unenforceable in the state. For those who enter into such arrangements, the offense would be punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and/or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than a year. The bill mirrors the current law in the District of Columbia. The law in Michigan is even stricter, with fines of up to $50,000 and jail time for those who break the law.

During his testimony, Dr. David Grainger, a fertility doctor who opposes the bill and practices in Wichita, Kansas, stated that, as he contemplated his testimony with “the bill in one hand and my Bible in the other,” he realized that this bill “would have criminalized the most important surrogacy pregnancy this world has ever seen: the verbal contract Mary had with God to carry and give birth to Jesus.”

Read here

 

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Three-person baby details announced

February 28th, 2014 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

By James Gallagher, BBC News

How the creation of babies using sperm and eggs from three people will be regulated in the UK has been announced.
 
The draft rules will be reviewed as part of a public consultation and could come into force by the end of 2014.
 
Doctors say three-person IVF could eliminate debilitating and potentially fatal diseases that are passed from mother to child.
Opponents say it is unethical and could set the UK on a "slippery slope" to designer babies.
 
Using the parents' sperm and eggs plus an additional egg from a donor woman should prevent mitochondrial disease.
Mitochondria are the tiny, biological "power stations" that provide energy to nearly every cell of the body.
 
One in every 6,500 babies has severe mitochondrial disease leaving them lacking energy, resulting in muscle weakness, blindness, heart failure and even death.
 
As mitochondria are passed down from mother to child, using an extra egg from a donor woman could give the child healthy mitochondria.
 
However, it would also result in babies having DNA from two parents and a tiny amount from the donor as mitochondria have their own DNA.
 
Read here
 
New government consultation on three parent embryos asks the wrong questions By Peter Saunders, CMF
 
 
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Kansas Sperm Donor Ordered to Pay Child Support

February 10th, 2014 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Jennifer Thieme, Ricochet

A Kansas court ruled that a parent cannot contract away his parental responsibilities in sperm donation, unless a doctor does the procedure. If the doctor does it, the sperm donor will never be considered the father from a legal point of view. That's the way the law works in Kansas in sperm donation. The court also said this:

"A person cannot contract away his or her obligations to support their child. The right for support belongs to the child, not the parents."

The court rejected that this man was simply a "sperm donor" and ruled that he was the father of the child, and did so on the basis of what is just for the child.

Why this matters:

The legal category of "sperm donor" is an interesting one. It's an artificially constructed legal "wedge" that uses the state to keep children permanently separated from their fathers. It also serves as a "wedge" to keep men and women away from each other by sending a specific type of policy signal: that men and women don't need to work together to raise the children that come about when their gametes are combined. By developing these artificial "wedges," the state and the adults involved are all making an implicit assumption about what the child will want in his own future, without ever asking the child.

Read here


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STI infection rates among gay men reach ‘crisis’ levels

February 9th, 2014 Jill Posted in Homosexuality, Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Charlie Cooper, Independent

A growing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) linked to a rise in unprotected sex and club drug use represents “a crisis for gay men”, a leading expert has said.

Rates of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis in gay men have soared in recent years, official figures show, while new HIV infections have also reached record highs.

Health chiefs from around the UK will meet in London this week to share evidence and devise new strategies to tackle the problem, which has seen record highs in infection rates for several STIs.

Experts say that, paradoxically, the rise of successful drug treatments for HIV has contributed to increased infection rates for other STIs. More men are having unprotected sex in the assumption that they no longer need to wear a condom to protect themselves from the virus, once considered a death sentence before the advent of effective anti-retroviral drugs. Other men are lowering their risk by ‘sero-sorting’, or ensuring partners have the same HIV status as them, but then having unprotected sex, risking the transmission of other infections.

Read here


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The Poison Pill

February 4th, 2014 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

By David Lindsay

Well, of course.

We have long since decided that femaleness, simply in itself, was a medicable condition requiring the pumping of women's and girls' bodies full of highly poisonous substances in order to stop those bodies from doing what they do naturally.

That is the very opposite of medicine. And it is being done in order to make women and girls permanently available for the sexual gratification of men and boys.

But we now seem to have decided to treat maleness in the same way, and to get in even younger than we did with femaleness. The prescription of drugs to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder increased by more than 50 per cent in the six years to August 2013.

Read here

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Modern Families and the Messes We Make

January 5th, 2014 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Jennifer Lahl, Public Discourse

Assistive reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization not only involve serious medical risks, they also disrupt family life and commodify human beings.

It almost always starts with an emotional story: an infertile couple trying desperately to conceive; a woman diagnosed with cancer, worried that she may lose her fertility when she undergoes chemotherapy or radiation treatment; a couple with a dreaded inheritable genetic disease that they do not want to pass on to their children; a sick child in need of a transplant from a “savior sibling.” And now added to the list is the same-sex couple or the single-by-choice person who wants to conceive a biologically related child. Even post-menopausal women can now—with the help of modern technology—experience the joys of motherhood.
 
With the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the world’s first “test-tube baby,” the solution to infertility was seemingly found in reproductive technologies. The beginnings of life moved from the womb to the laboratory, in the petri dish.
 
As a result, we find ourselves in a world in which a global multi-billion-dollar per year fertility industry feeds reproductive tourism. Women old enough to be grandmothers become first-time mothers, and litter births like the Octumom’s (I prefer Octu vs. Octo, as she gave birth to octuplets, and she isn’t an octopus) are distressingly common. Pre-implantation genetic screening, which is in reality a “search and destroy” mission, has become the modern face of eugenics. Grandmothers are carrying their daughters’ babies (their own grandchildren) to term. Doctors are now creating three-parent embryos using DNA from two women and one man. Single-by-choice mothers and fathers, same-sex parents, and parenting partnerships between non-romantically involved couples have become “The New Normal.”
 
Stanford law professor Hank Greely, in a talk titled “The End of Sex,” made the bold assertion that within the next fifty years the majority of babies in developed countries will be made in the lab because no one will want to leave their children’s lives to nature’s chance.
 
Read here
 
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The NHS – No Place for Conscience

November 13th, 2013 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Trevor Stammers, Catholic Medical Quarterly

As an academic who teaches bioethics and medical law, it is my privilege also to learn from my students – undergraduate and postgraduate alike. Just recently one of my MA students based in Australia, posted the following contribution on our online discussion board – “ The politics of abortion make it incredibly difficult for those who are critical of current practices to be heard in the public square. In the case of conscientious objection, what should be a straightforward moral appeal for freedom to perform acts that are not morally objectionable to the individual (and not to perform acts which are morally objectionable), becomes a question of the rights of women in general. This becomes doubly difficult if, as a critic, one is also a man. Nevertheless, the notion that such conscientious objection can be called into question is a spurious idea that betrays a bizarrely modern commitment to autonomy”.

The autonomy referred to here is of course that of the patient (as the student rightly goes on to comment), but one wonders from recent events in the UK, what place will remain in a few years time for the autonomy of health care professional to be exercised in expressing conscientious objection ?

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) is the largest, publicly-funded health service in the world. Serving a population of over sixty million people, every year the NHS receives over £100 billion of tax-payers’ money. Furthermore, it employs more than 1.7 million people, including 120,000 hospital doctors, 40,000 GPs, 400,000 nurses, and 25,000 ambulance staff. Given the NHS’s social, political, and economic importance, the large numbers of people it both serves and employs, and the gravity of the matters with which it deals, it is not surprising that the place of moral concerns within it have been subject to considerable, and often heated, discussion and argument. Not surprisingly, secularist voices have been prominent here — and nowhere more so, than on the question of conscience in healthcare provision.

There is good evidence that a doctor’s beliefs influence patient care. This is especially true with regard to for example sexual health and end-of-life issues. A carefully designed study of the influence of doctors’ religious beliefs (or lack of them) on their care of the dying, for example, showed that ‘doctors who described themselves as non-religious were more likely than others to report having given continuous deep sedation until death, having taken decisions they expected or partly intended to end life.’ [1, p. 677] Conscience is not, of course, the sole preserve of religious people — there are a great many doctors who identify with secular spiritual traditions, or who have no religious or spiritual tradition at all, who would equally refuse to authorize or participate in particular (legal) medical procedures on the grounds of conscience. Nevertheless, such objections are indeed frequently influenced and justified on the basis of specifically religious convictions.

Read here

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Putting doctors above the law

November 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in Euthanasia, Medical Ethics Comments Off

by Peter Saunders, MercatorNet

Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, which aims to legalise assisted suicide for mentally competent adults with less than six months to live and a 'clear and settled intention to end their lives', had its first reading in the House of Lords last May. It is due to return for a second reading (debate stage) in Spring 2014.
 
In an interview for Pulse magazine recently, Lord Falconer was asked if GPs were likely to get into trouble with the police for authorising assisted suicide under his proposed bill should it ever become law. His answer was quite revealing.
 
He said that the bill would make it ‘very difficult’ for GPs to face any proceedings in court as long as it was ‘their genuine view’ that this was the patient’s position. He said: ‘Of course they have to give their genuine view, and of course they have to take reasonable care in relation to it, but as long as they do that they would have absolutely nothing to worry about. It would be no different to any part of their practice as general practitioners.’
 
In other words, it is not necessary for the patient to be mentally competent, at least 18 years old, with less than six months to live or with a settled wish to end his or her life. All that is required is for the doctor to say that it is his 'genuine view' that these conditions apply and no court will be able to touch him.
 
Read here
 
 
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Stop ‘eugenic’ creation of 3-parent embryos: Council of Europe Members to Britain

October 29th, 2013 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

by Hilary White, LifeSite News

A group of thirty-four Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), have written a strongly worded letter to the British government calling for a halt to the creation of so-called “three-parent” embryos in IVF labs.

The members called the practice of “germ-line” genetic tampering with embryos, so that the changes are passed on through the generations, incompatible with human dignity and international law, labeling it a “eugenic practice.”
 
They quoted Article 24 of the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, that warned that “germ-line interventions could be considered as practices which are ‘contrary to human dignity.’” The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is a non-juridical body made up of 47 member countries.
 
The “three-parent” technique involves inserting DNA from a third party into embryos created in the lab in an effort to avoid passing on mitochondrial diseases. It was given the go-ahead in March this year by the UK’ Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, (HFEA) one of the most permissive regulatory agencies in the world.
 
In a report to the government, following a “public consultation,” the HFEA had said that the technique should only be used to avoid “serious diseases” caused by genetic abnormalities, and that clinics offering it must be licensed. The report recommended that the children created using this genetic alteration technique be monitored.
 
Read here
 
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Ministers in new row over abortion ruling

October 9th, 2013 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics, pro-life/abortion Comments Off

By Holly Watt and Claire Newell, Telegraph

MP insists that terminations based on unborn child’s gender are illegal, despite prosecutor’s decision that operations may be carried out

Health ministers have said abortion on the grounds of gender alone is “unacceptable and illegal” in defiance of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who said the law does not “prohibit gender-specific abortions”.

The Department of Health has asked medical regulators to update the advice and guidance on carrying out abortions, amid concerns that Keir Starmer’s decision effectively legalises sex-selective abortions.

On Monday, Mr Starmer published a justification for the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision not to prosecute two doctors who agreed to arrange illegal abortions based on the sex of an unborn baby.

As part of his analysis, Mr Starmer used advice from the British Medical Association (BMA), which states that there might be circumstances “in which termination of pregnancy on grounds of foetal sex would be lawful”.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has asked Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, for clarification on the issue.

Read here

Read also:  Choose who to kill by Peter Ould
 
Why are feminists silent on the deliberate abortion of girls?
by Cristina Odone, Telegraph

Britain’s abortion laws are inherently absurd by Melanie McDonagh, Spectator

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European Campaign to stop public funding of destructive embryo research gains one million signatures – but UK remains woefully under-represented

September 24th, 2013 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Peter Saunders
 
Last week, 'One of Us' announced that 1 million EU citizens had signed its initiative to protect tiny human lives.
 
There will now be an official public hearing on the need to ban EU funding for activities that involve destroying human embryos. 
 
It's an amazing achievement – and this week, European Commission Vice President Maroš Šef?ovi? officially congratulated the campaign.
 
The One of Us’ campaign underlines the moment of conception as the beginning of human life, and aims to prevent any funding of activities which result in the destruction of human embryos, particularly focusing on areas of research, development aid and public health (see previous CMF update by Philippa Taylor for more detail).
 
It was launched in January 2013 by leaders in twenty European countries and follows a European Court of Justice ruling in 2011, in a lawsuit brought by Greenpeace, that human life begins at conception and deserves legal protection (See my previous blogs on the ‘Bruestle Judgement’ here and here).
 
Read here
 

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Manufactured people have rights too

September 10th, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics, Medical Ethics Comments Off

by Alana S Newman, LifeSite News

 What are the rights of donor-conceived people? To ask this question is to suggest that we have different rights from everyone else—and so we do, because we’ve allowed it.

We’ve created a class of people who are manufactured, and treat them as less-than-fully human, demanding that they be grateful for whatever circumstances we give them. While fathers of traditionally conceived human beings are chased down and forced to make child support payments as a minimal standard of care, people conceived commercially are reprimanded when they question the anonymous voids that their biological fathers so “lovingly” left.
 
The crimes against the donor-conceived bend time and space. The adults that betray us do so before official personhood, which is the loophole through which this new form of human trafficking is made possible. Is gamete-selling all that different from baby-selling?
I recently discussed third-party reproduction and “the rights of donor-conceived people” at a debate at the Institute for American Values. My opponent was an older gay man, who with his male partner hired two surrogates and one egg donor in the generation of three children. He was there to argue that it’s okay to dispose of mothers and manufacture children as long as it’s done the “right” way. I was there as a representative of donor-conceived people.
 
It is difficult to know how to pitch yourself as a donor-conceived person during these conversations. If my opponent displays gentlemanly behavior, intelligence, and sensitivity, his argument is made stronger and the audience has a hard time disentangling good manners from immoral deeds. But when I speak, my argument is that we are damaged and pained. If a donor-conceived person like me displays charm and intelligence it can work against our efforts in that they suggest we are able to achieve normalcy—therefore no harm, no foul.
 
Must every donor-conceived person develop into a violent, drug-addicted, and deranged adult in order to convince the public that his or her family structure is by definition problematic? If so, I’ll graciously illustrate scenes from my challenging past in my next essay. But for now let’s just say I hope not, and take a look at what history has taught us about human rights. It’s clear that often in the case of donor-conceived people, these rights hardly apply.
 
Read here
 
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Sex diseases among young rise by 50% in ten years

August 27th, 2013 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics, Sexualisation Comments Off

By Sophie Borland, Mailonline

  • Under-25s diagnosed with STIs increased by five per cent since last year
  • Number of sexually transmitted infections 46 per cent higher than 2003
  • Under 25s have two-third of chlamydia cases and over half of gonorrhoea

The number of under-25s being diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases has climbed almost 50 per cent in ten years.

Experts are particularly concerned about the rise of gonorrhoea with rates increasing by a fifth in the past 12 months.

They believe the trend is due to a new super-strain of the disease which cannot easily be treated with antibiotics.

A report by Public Health England shows there were 448,422 new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in 2012, including chlamydia, herpes and genital warts.

The total is up by 5 per cent on the previous year and 46 per cent higher than 2003, when figures were first collected.

Experts say the rise is due to teenagers and adults in their early 20s having unprotected sex.

But Labour said the figures show a sharp increase in the past three years which they blamed on the Government’s sex education policy.

The party accused ministers of teaching youngsters ‘too little too late’ and said they were not doing enough to improve testing and treatment clinics.

Read here

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Over 850,000 people have signed the petition to protect human embryos in Europe. Have you?

August 19th, 2013 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics, Petitions, pro-life/abortion Comments Off

By Peter Saunders, CMF

The ‘One of Us’ campaign underlines the moment of conception as the beginning of human life, and aims to prevent any funding of activities which result in the destruction of human embryos, particularly focusing on areas of research, development aid and public health.

It was launched in January 2013 by leaders in twenty European countries and follows a European Court of Justice ruling in 2011, in a lawsuit brought by Greenpeace, that human life begins at conception and deserves legal protection (See my previous blogs on the ruling here and here).

‘One of Us’ is a European Citizen Initiative, a new method provided in the Treaty of Lisbon for proposing legislation in the European Union.
Such an initiative must have the support of at least 7 of the 27 member states and each individual state involved must collect a minimum number of signatures based on its overall population.

If the campaign gathers one million signatures, the European Parliament is duty-bound to schedule a debate on the issue.

Read here


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IVF linked to intellectual disability, autism in children: large study

July 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off

by John Jalsevac, LifeSite News

Swedish study has found that children conceived with a certain type of in vitro fertilization (IVF) have a 51 percent increased risk of intellectual impairment – defined as an IQ score below 70. They also linked the procedure to a small increased risk for autism in cases of twins and triplets.

Scientists studied data from 2.5 million births, and found the heightened risk in cases of babies conceived by a process in which the sperm is injected directly into the mother’s egg, known as Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). ICSI is used typically to overcome male infertility.
 
The scientists behind the study pointed out that while the increased risk was statistically significant, it translates into comparatively small numbers in the real world: 92 per 100,000 (0.092 percent) vs. 62 per 100,000 children (0.062 percent).
 
“The exact mechanism is unclear, but there are a number of risk factors, from selection of IVF procedures, to multiple embryos, and to pre-term birth,” said study leader Dr. Avi Reichenberg, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, according to the Press Association.
 
“Whilst intellectual disability or autism remain a rare outcome for IVF, being aware of the increased risk associated with specific types of IVF means offspring at risk can be identified and potentially monitored for developmental disorders, ensuring they receive early detection and appropriate support and care,” he said.
 
Read here
 
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The moral status of the human embryo – when is a person?

July 3rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics, Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Peter Saunders, CMF

The moral status of the embryo is one of the key pressure-points in ethical debates about post-coital contraception, therapeutic cloning, pre-implantation diagnosis, artificial reproduction, embryo research and cloning.

The issue, which has profound implications for medical practice as doctors, has divided people for centuries and remains controversial.
 
It is a fundamental principle both of Christian teaching and also of natural justice that human beings deserve utmost respect.
 
Christians believe that human beings have been individually created by God and derive their integrity and worth from the fact that they are made in the image of God – regardless of genotype, age, size, location or degree of dependence and disability.
 
The presence of a disability, either inherited or acquired, does not detract from a person 's intrinsic worth. All human beings are thereby worthy of the utmost respect. They must never be treated as means to an end. At the heart of the Christian ethic is self-giving love, whereby the strong make sacrifices for, and if necessary lay down their lives for, the weak.
 
Historical medical ethical codes, recognising the power and strength of doctors, have enshrined a view similar to the Christian one.
 
The Declaration of Geneva (1948) stipulates that doctors should ‘maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception’.
 
In like manner, the International Code of Medical Ethics (1949)says that a doctor 'must always bear in mind the obligation of preserving human life from the time of conception until death'.
 
The Declaration of Helsinki (1975) says that in biomedical research:
 
Read here
 
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