LIFEalerts 15 March 2016

 

Abortion Northern Ireland – Plan for abortion expansion meets stunning defeat

USA – Ohio defunds Planned Parenthood, redirects $1.3 million

USA – Abortion Clinics Closing at Record Pace

Alternative Medicine New Zealand – Feedback on natural health product regulations extended
Euthanasia USA – Dutch psychiatric patients may get euthanasia too easily

Netherlands – Dutch report applies the brakes on ‘completed life’ euthanasia

USA – Oregon releases its 2015 ‘death with dignity’ stats

IVF& Surrogacy UK – ‘Natural’ fertilisation device for IVF
Medical Ethics USA – Three parent babies, but only males

UK – Green light for UK CRISPR embryo research

Brazil – Zika: still wrapped in mystery

Scotland – Edinburgh to host world bioethics conference

Pedophilia USA – New Requirements for Sex Offenders Traveling Abroad
Pornography

 

Indonesia – Indonesia blocks Tumblr because it hosts pornography

USA – School leaders, prosecutor discuss child pornography victim care

USA – Rampant Exchange of Porn Emails among State Officials

South Africa – FPB seeks two years in jail or a fine for revenge porn

Same Sex Attraction USA – Advocate Compares March For Marriage To Civil Rights Movement

USA Doctor fired from Boston hospital for objecting to its LGBT policy

UK – Campaigner Peter Tatchell backs bakers in gay cake appeal

Sexual Exploitation Indonesia – A way to deal with prostitution in the country by 2019

USA – More slaves today than during 400 years of the African Slave Trade

UN – Officials Call for Strengthened Partnerships to Combat Trafficking

UK – Tourists who pay for prostitutes abroad ‘should face prosecution in UK’

Substance Abuse UK – Study sheds light on source of drug addicts risk-taking behaviour

USA – Marijuana Use May Lead to Abuse of Other Substances

USA – New High: Legal Marijuana Sales Hit $5.4 Billion for 2015

Australia – “Medical marijuana” legalized in Australia

 

Abortion

 

Northern Ireland – Plan for abortion expansion meets stunning defeat

The National Assembly, though divided into nine parties by religion and policy, managed to coalesce into a decisive majority to defeat two amendments to the law on abortion, one which would have allowed it in the case of children with fatal abnormalities (by 59 votes to 40), and when the pregnancy resulted from rape (by 64-30). Abortion advocates “are getting more and more vociferous,” Liam Gibson, Northern Ireland spokesman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, warned. “This issue will not go away. The judge said the current law did not represent the will of the people, but this decisive defeat of both amendments by the people’s elected representatives says otherwise.”

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/plan-for-northern-ireland-abortion-expansion-meets-stunning-defeat

 

USA – Ohio defunds Planned Parenthood, redirects $1.3 million

Governor John Kasich signed legislation that will defund Planned Parenthood by forbidding the state from making health service contracts with any abortion-providing organization. Ohio is the 10th state in the union to take action to eliminate public subsidies to the abortion giant. The bill takes approximately $1.3 million per year that Planned Parenthood facilities in the state had been receiving, and instead directs it to federally qualified health centers, health departments, and other non-abortion health providers. There are 10 comprehensive health care clinics in Ohio for every Planned Parenthood facility.

http://liveactionnews.org/ohio-defunds-planned-parenthood-redirects-roughly-1-3-million/

 

USA – Abortion Clinics Closing at Record Pace

Abortion clinics are closing at a record pace across the country as they fail to meet new health and safety requirements and the demand for their business drops, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Many factors are involved, including the lack of business and fewer doctors willing to do abortions. Fewer women actually want abortions as more pro-life groups offer women alternatives to abortion and more women have access to the education and resources to choose life for their unborn babies. Since 2011, at least 162 abortion clinics have shut or stopped doing abortions. A report from Operation Rescue also showed 53 abortion clinics closed in 2015 alone.

http://www.lifenews.com/2016/02/24/abortion-clinics-closing-at-record-pace-as-more-babies-saved-from-abortions/

 

Alternative Medicine

 

New Zealand – Feedback on natural health product regulations extended

The government extended a deadline for feedback on regulations for a bill that will create a register and regulator for natural health products. The bill, supported by Natural Products NZ, an umbrella group that represents about 90% of the $1.4 billion industry, missed the cut for a final reading in the pre-Christmas legislative logjam. The regulatory regime will help boost exports and provide assurance to consumers that products are safe. Natural Products NZ executive director Alison Quesnel says she is disappointed at what she calls scaremongering and misinformation over the proposed law change. The register already has 5500 ingredients approved for use in natural remedies and supplements and the list is expected to increase.

http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/health-freedom-groups-win-extension-feedback-natural-health-product-regulations-b-184583

 

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Euthanasia

 

USA – Dutch psychiatric patients may get euthanasia too easily

The Journal of American Medical Associations, JAMA Psychiatry, has presented an alarming picture of physician evaluation of euthanasia requests in the Netherlands. Psychiatrist Dr. Scott Y. H. Kim examined 66 psychiatric cases which confirmed loneliness as a key driver behind requests by those suffering from mental illness. Dr. Paul S. Appelbaum, a professor of psychiatry, medicine and law at Columbia University commented, “the idea that people are leaving their treating physician and going to a clinic that exists solely for this purpose, and being evaluated not by a psychiatrist but by someone else who has to make these very difficult decisions about levels of suffering and disease, it seems to me like the worst possible way of implementing this process.”

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/the-dangers-of-euthanasia-for-the-mentally-ill/11750

 

Netherlands – Dutch report applies the brakes on ‘completed life’ euthanasia

Although euthanasia in the Netherlands is often regarded as an unstoppable juggernaut, a government commission has suggested that the brakes be applied. Activists have been pressing for euthanasia on the basis of “completed life”, that is, for people who have simply lost interest in living, regardless of age or state of health. However, after a lengthy study, the Schnabel Commission has declared that expanding the boundary of euthanasia is not advisable. It believes that current legislation already provides for cases of “completed life”, which are equivalent to the symptoms of old age, in any case. The Dutch right-to-die association (NVVE) was surprised by the conservatism of the government’s response.

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/a-dutch-report-applies-the-brakes-on-euthanasia/11756

 

USA – Oregon releases its 2015 ‘death with dignity’ stats

Oregon’s annual “Death with Dignity” reports for 2015 shows the figures are not as straightforward as they might seem. During 2015, 218 people received prescriptions for lethal medications, but only 132 people died. Although uncontrolled pain is often seen as sufficient justification for legalized assisted suicide, relatively few people even mentioned it. The three main reasons were “less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable” (96%); “losing autonomy” (92%); and “loss of dignity” (75%). One curious detail from the statistics is that since 1997, 6 patients have regained consciousness after taking a lethal dose of medication.

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/oregon-releases-its-2015-death-with-dignity-stats/11761

 

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Same Sex Attraction

 

USA – Advocate Compares March for Marriage to Civil Rights Movement

The president of an anti-gay organization, Brian Brown, has compared the group’s recent protest against same-sex marriage to the Civil Rights movement in America. Slate reports that a diverse crowd of over 5,000 people showed up for the march  NOM’s  (National Organization for Marriage) mission is “protecting marriage and the faith communities that sustain it,” according to its website. The March for Marriage was meant to show support for California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA), laws that seek to define marriage as between a man and woman only.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/anti-gay-movement

 

USA Doctor fired from Boston hospital for objecting to LGBT policy

A respected member of the Harvard Medical School faculty has officially been expelled from his position at a major Boston hospital for voicing concerns about the hospital’s promotion of the LGBT lifestyle. His response noted the “evidence is irrefutable that behaviours common within the homosexual community are unhealthy and high risk for a host of serious medical consequences.” The board of directors of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) informed Dr. Paul Church, from the Harvard faculty and a doctor for nearly 30 years at the hospital, that they will uphold his dismissal and that his medical privileges have been permanently rescinded.

http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/dr.-church

 

UK – Campaigner Peter Tatchell backs bakers in gay cake appeal

Mr. Tatchell has changed his mind about Asher’s Bakery in Belfast, who was found to have broken anti-discrimination laws when they declined an order by activist Gareth Lee for a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’. He said: “Much as I wish to defend the gay community, I also want to defend freedom of conscience, expression and religion. It is an infringement of freedom to require private businesses to aid the promotion of ideas to which they conscientiously object. Discrimination against people should be unlawful but not discrimination against ideas and opinions. Should a Muslim printer be obliged to publish cartoons of Mohammed or a Jewish one the words of a Holocaust denier?”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3427354/Tatchell-backs-bakers-gay-cake-appeal-Campaigner-says-changed-mind-firm-broke-anti-discrimination-laws-wants-defend-freedom-religion.html

 

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IVF&Surrogacy

 

UK – ‘Natural’ fertilisation device for IVF

A private UK fertility clinic is offering couples a new form of IVF treatment that lets conception occur in the womb rather than in the lab. Doctors hope that making fertilisation more natural will mean healthier pregnancies. The Complete Fertility clinic in Southampton is first in the UK to use the AneVivo device method. It is a tiny tubular capsule that is loaded with the sperm and egg before being placed into the uterus. Prof Macklon, head of the clinic said: “The aim is to maximise the time spent in the body rather than in the lab. The immediate benefit is reducing exposure at this very vulnerable time of human development when genes are being switched on and off.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-35344195

 

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Medical Ethics

 

USA – Three parent babies, but only males

The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has recommended that US government allow mitochondrial DNA transfer in male embryos. The report argues that the procedure should be limited to male embryos because it is prudent to minimize the dangers of ‘passing on’ adverse effects of the procedure to future generations, and one way to do this is to begin with males only: “Intrauterine transfer for gestation [should be] limited to male embryos in order to prevent potential adverse and uncertain consequences of MRT from being passed on to future generations”. The sons-only recommendation has been criticized by researchers in the UK, whose parliament gave the go-ahead for mitochondrial replacement therapy last year without any such restriction.

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/three-parent-babies-but-only-males/11739

 

UK – Green light for UK CRISPR embryo research

Developmental biologist Kathy Niakan has received permission from the UK Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to edit the genome of human embryos using the new CRISPR technology. “The reason why it is so important is because miscarriages and infertility are extremely common, but they’re not very well understood”, she said. Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, is doubtful about the ability of embryonic gene-editing to redress genetic abnormalities: “Genetic abnormalities which result in implantation failure (either in IVF or naturally) or miscarriages are chromosomal abnormalities, not abnormalities in single genes. But only abnormalities in single genes can be fixed with gene editing of the sort that the Crick Institute is proposing. Gene editing does not fix chromosomal abnormalities.”

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/green-light-for-uk-crispr-embryo-research/11738

 

Brazil – Zika: still wrapped in mystery

The World Health Organization says the Zika virus epidemic is a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”. In the New England Journal of Medicine, Slovenian clinicians reported they had found the virus in the aborted remains of a baby with microcephaly whose mother contracted the disease in Brazil. But a report in the WHO’s Bulletin says a spike in microcephaly cases began in 2012, before the Zika epidemic in 2014. So there are still quite a few mysteries surrounding the virus. According to bioethicist Art Caplan and Lee H. Igel of New York University the situation is serious enough to cancel the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year. Given the risk to pregnant women holding them is “irresponsible”.

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/zika-still-wrapped-in-mystery/11747

 

Scotland – Edinburgh to host world bioethics conference

Edinburgh is the venue for the 2016 world congress of the International Association of Bioethics, whose theme is “Individuals, Public Interests and Public Goods: What is the Contribution of Bioethics?” and  will take place from June 14 to 17. According to the conference’s website, the event will be “… less of a traditional academic conference and more of a festival of knowledge that seeks to build a bridge between the questions and answers of how bioethics can contribute to some of the most pressing issues of our time – from genetic research to global pandemics, and from scarce resources to climate changes that affect us all.”

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/edinburgh-to-host-world-bioethics-conference/11748

 

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Pedophilia

 

USA – New Requirements for Sex Offenders Traveling Abroad

Sex offenders must now provide to the appropriate official any information relating to their intended travel outside of the United States. Under this new law, sex offenders convicted of sex crimes involving minors will have to have a passport with a unique identifying mark. “This is the first time in the history of our country that any American citizen will have a unique identifier on their passport, it violates so many constitutional rights of our citizens”, said lawyer Janice Bellucci from the California Reform Sex Offender Laws. “Who is the next group? Is it going to be Muslims if Donald Trump becomes president? This law is also designed to prevent the practice of “sex tourism” globally.

http://www.lawyerherald.com/articles/31289/20160202/bill-make-harder-sex-offenders-travel-abroad-heads-obamas-desk.htm

 

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Pornography

 

Indonesia – Indonesia blocks Tumblr because it hosts pornography

Indonesia has banned Tumblr because the site hosted pornographic content. They banned them first and told them afterwards. Along with hosting adult content, Tumblr offers a quick way to make and search for photographs, supports conversations about mental health, and it even has a clothing line. Indonesian media recently banned nearly 500 sites in a broad crackdown, and earlier this month the Information and Communication Ministry demanded app maker Line remove LGBT-friendly stickers from its store. The country’s largest internet service provider, a state-owned company called Telekom Indonesia, blocked Netflix in January over concerns about the content it offered.

http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/17/indonesia-blocks-tumblr-over-porn/

 

USA – School leaders, prosecutor discuss child pornography victim care

Prince George’s County school leaders and the county’s state’s attorney are discussing how to help the young alleged victims of a man charged with making child pornography. There are at least 17 victims. They want to make sure the children involved in these cases have all the help and therapy they need so they can heal and they won’t be perpetrators themselves.

http://wtop.com/prince-georges-county/2016/02/school-leaders-prosecutor-meet-to-discuss-child-pornography-victim-care

 

USA – Rampant Exchange of Porn Emails among State Officials

The Pennsylvania government remains in a state of disarray after the state attorney general, recently exposed the rampant exchange of pornographic and vulgar emails by government officials. Attorney General Katherine Kane announced her findings about the inappropriate emails resulting in the resignation of Environmental Protection Secretary Christopher Abruzzo and Board of Probation and Parole member Randy Feathers. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery also stepped down as well as Justice J. Michael Eakin. Police Commissioner Frank Noonan and Kevin Harley, former spokesperson for then Gov. Tom Corbett, were also cited in the discovery. Kane found the pornographic correspondence while looking into why it took the state three years to prosecute now convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

http://christiannews.net/2016/02/21/pennsylvania-in-mess-after-exposure-of-rampant-exchange-of-porn-emails-among-state-officials/

 

South Africa – FPB seeks two years in jail or a fine for revenge porn

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the Film Publications Board (FPB) will present this bill to Parliament’s communications committee. The bill, introduced to Parliament in November 2015 seeks to amend the Films and Publications Act by closing gaps in relation to online content regulation. “Revenge porn” is the distribution of private sexual photographs and films without consent from the individual featured. If passed, offenders could face up to two years in jail or a fine of up to R150 000. In terms of the proposed new law, no person may post private photos or films on the internet and social media sites without the consent of the person.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/scitech/2016/02/22/FPB-seeks-two-years-in-jail-or-a-fine-of-up-to-R150000-for-revenge-porn

 

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Sexual Exploitation

 

Indonesia – A way to deal with prostitution in the country by 2019

The Indonesian government announced a plan to close all 168 red-light districts across Indonesia by 2019 in order to deal with prostitution in the country. They managed to close Jakarta’s most notorious red-light districts and replace them with parks as the situation got out of control. As child sex tourism has become an issue at the resort islands many believe that red-light districts will affect children who live nearby negatively. Many women in Indonesia were indirectly forced to become prostitutes because the money was good and a way out of poverty. In other cases, the women were forced to enter prostitution by “family” and “friends.

http://neurope.eu/article/government-plans-to-fight-prostitution-in-indonesia/

 

USA – More slaves today than during 400 years of the African Slave Trade

Central Florida has become a slave-trafficking hotspot writes Rosie Reitze in the Central Florida Future. Earlier this year, Governor Rick Scott declared the month of January Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Scott signed four bills into law that went into effect to raise awareness of human trafficking. Jodi Cobb, an international photographer and author, photographed and produced the documentary “21st-Century Slaves” for National Geographic in 2003. “I think there’s a huge interest in human trafficking which has really grown since I did my story, the problem is, so has trafficking,” she said. “When I photographed it, there were more slaves in the world than the four centuries of the African slave trade combined, and now there’s even more.”

http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/story/news/2016/02/10/modern-day-slavery-surrounds-ucf-orlando/80190768/

 

UN – Officials Call for Strengthened Partnerships to Combat Trafficking

The scourge of Human Trafficking has victims spread across 152 different citizenships in 124 countries. “The promotion of human rights is central to our strategy,” Mogens Lykketoft said, urging all Member States to ratify and fully implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In September, the United Nations will convene a high-level summit on “Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants”. UN assembly President Mogens Lykketoft noted that the General Assembly agreed to hold a high-level meeting in late 2017 to conduct the second appraisal of the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, adopted in 2010.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201602101555.html

 

UK – Tourists who pay for prostitutes abroad ‘should face prosecution in UK’

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution by the campaigning group End Demand says payment for sex in the UK should be made illegal and “strongly considers” extending the offence to payments abroad. Research published by the British Medical Journal in 2014 found that among the 11 per cent of men in Britain aged 16 to 74 who have paid for sex, the majority (63 per cent) reported buying sex outside of the UK, mainly in Europe.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/sex-industry/sex-tourists-who-pay-for-prostitutes-abroad

 

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Substance Abuse

 

UK – Study sheds light on source of drug addict’s risk-taking behaviour

The study provides insight into how the brains of drug addicts may be wired differently. The findings which appear in the journal Psychopharmacology show that while drug users have strong motivation to seek out “rewards,” they exhibit an impaired ability to adjust their behaviour and are less fulfilled once they have achieved what they desire. Addressing this disconnect between the craving for a drug and the ability to regulate behaviour may be one of the keys to breaking the cycle of addiction. John Foxe, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Centre said “It appears that the integrity of this system of assessment and self-regulation is impaired in substance abusers and this may contribute to their risk-taking behaviours and poor decision-making.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160210135211.htm

 

USA – Marijuana Use May Lead to Abuse of Other Substances

Based on national surveys three years apart, researchers found that adults who reported using pot in the first survey were two to nine times more likely to have a substance abuse problem by the time of the second survey.”Patients who may be considering using cannabis should know that by using cannabis they are approximately doubling their risk of developing a drug use disorder over the next few years,” said senior study author Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University Medical Centre and the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City.

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/marijuana-use-may-lead-abuse-other-substances-n523071

 

USA – New High: Legal Marijuana Sales Hit $5.4 Billion for 2015

Legal U.S. pot sales soared to $5.4 billion for 2015, up 17.4 percent from $4.6 billion in 2014, according to data released Monday by the ArcView Group, which tracks the cannabis markets. The figures include medical and adult consumer sales. However, the annual gain was largely fuelled by the explosive growth in consumer sales, as some states have approved adult recreational marijuana use. Adult use sales grew to $998 million from $351 million in 2014, according to the research.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/new-high-legal-marijuana-sales-hit-5-4-billion-2015-n508851

 

Australia – “Medical marijuana” legalized in Australia

The Australian parliament passed new national laws making the use of cannabis legal by people with “painful and chronic illness”. Amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act permit legally-grown cannabis for the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products in Australia. The changes put “medical cannabis”, in the same category as restricted medicinal drugs such as morphine. Recreational cannabis cultivation and use remains illegal with state-based criminal laws still in place.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/medical-marijuana-is-now-legal-in-australia-2016-2

 

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Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International