LIFEalerts 08 May 2014

Abortion USA – Bill requires mental health info before abortionUSA – Country’s strictest anti-abortion law signed in Mississippi USA – Dobson tears into Obama: ‘Come and get me’ USA – South Carolina 20 Week Abortion Ban Advances Alternative Medicine Australia – Homeopathy is no better than a placebo say scientists Euthanasia UK – Retired art teacher commits suicide due to frustration with modern lifeCanada – Vegetative patient communicates with doctors for first time HIV/AIDS No news today Homosexuality Africa – EU Pressure on Africa to promote homosexualityUSA – Trans Women Are 49 Times More Likely to Have HIV UK – Promoting homosexuality on the rise in UK schools IVF & Surrogacy USA – Rates of IVF continue to growJapan – Researchers find ‘Juno,’ a key to fertility Ghana – First IVF quadruplets delivered in Kumasi Medical Ethics Belgium – Citizens’ Initiative against embryonic stem cells EU can’t ignoreUK – Alarm over care of the elderly India – Row over clinical trial as 254 Indian women die USA – bioethicists take Belgian child euthanasia to task Pedophilia USA – Child abuse costing the church billions of dollarsUK – Downloading child abuse ‘manuals’ to be made illegal Pornography UK – New system can scan the internet for illegal images Prostitution &Trafficking USA – Oklahoma House passes three human trafficking bills USA – Amnesty International should not endorse legalizing prostitutionUK – Outlaw buying sex, says former Tory minister Caroline Spelman Stem Cells & Cloning No news today Substance Abuse USA –  Dagga: Debunking Pot Proponents’ Prison Myths USA – Marijuana and tobacco, treated very differently by governmentUSA – Christie: I Will ‘Never’ Legalize Weed in N.J. USA – Recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain


Abortion

USA – Bill requires mental health info before abortion

Anti-abortion lawmakers in Louisiana want women seeking the procedure in Louisiana to get pamphlets describing possible psychological effects, the illegality of coerced abortions and services available to human trafficking victims. The House Health and Welfare Committee backed a bill that would require clinics to provide those three brochures to women at the start of their state-mandated 24-hour waiting period before they can have an abortion. That would be added to other printed materials already required under the “Woman’s Right to Know” law, such as information on the foetus’ development in the womb and alternatives to abortion. No committee member objected to sending the bill to the full House for debate.

http://www.centredaily.com/2014/04/09/4126983/bill-requires-mental-health-info.html#storylink=cpy

USA – Country’s strictest anti-abortion law signed in Mississippi

One of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country will go into effect in Mississippi, barring women from seeking an abortion 20 weeks after the beginning of their last menstrual cycle. The bill, signed into law by Gov Phil Bryant on Wednesday and going into effect July 1, calculates conception from the first day of a woman’s last period rather than when the egg becomes fertilized and implanted in the uterus. The new legislation does have exceptions for the life of the mother or if the foetus has no chance of survival.

http://rt.com/usa/154424-harshest-abortion-law-signed-mississippi/

USA – Dobson tears into Obama: ‘Come and get me’

James Dobson a harsh critic of President Obama and an opponent in court,  described him as the “abortion president” during an address. Dobson, whose organization recently won a court fight against Obama over a mandate in Obamacare that would have required his ministry to pay for abortion pills, has not been shy about challenging the president on his abortion agenda. He has made it so that every American will have to pay toward the support of abortion,” he said, noting the $250 million in taxpayer funds that already goes toward Planned Parenthood’s funding. He implored listeners to “keep fighting.” “We can win.

http://www.wnd.com/2014/05/dobson-obama-is-abortion-president/#bdGg4VXDy0RTjqKb.99

USA – South Carolina 20 Week Abortion Ban Advances

Legislation that would ban abortions after 19 weeks in South Carolina has advanced in the state Senate. A Senate subcommittee voted 4-1 to advance the bill after amending it to give exceptions to the ban for cases of rape, incest and foetal anomaly. Supporters believe the ban is needed on the assertion that a foetus at 20 weeks can feel pain. The proposed ban would only affect hospitals, as Planned Parenthood clinics in South Carolina do not provide abortions beyond 19 weeks. Under the ban, doctors who intentionally perform illegal abortions after 19 weeks could be fined $1,000 for first and second offences and $5,000 or three years in prison for a third offence.

http://charlotte.cbslocal.com/2014/05/01/sc-20-week-abortion-ban-advances-with-exceptions/

Alternative Medicine

Australia – Homeopathy is no better than a placebo say scientists

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council analyzed how effective alternative medicine are in treating illnesses and conditions, and concluded that “there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective”. Among the 68 ailments that homeopathic remedies failed to treat were: asthma, arthritis, sleep disturbances, and chronic fatigue syndrome,  malaria and heroin addiction. The researchers concluded that alternative treatments were either no more effective than a placebo, or that there was no reliable evidence to suggest it was. At the time, David Colquhoun, a pharmacologist at University College London, told The Independent that homeopathy was “utter nonsense”. Americans have spent $2bn investigating these things … they haven’t found a single one that works,” he said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/homeopathy-is-no-better-than-a-placebo-scientists-claim-9248896.html

Euthanasia

UK – Retired art teacher commits suicide due to frustration with modern life

An 89-year-old named only as Anne, a retired art teacher, committed suicide at the Dignitas clinic because she was frustrated at the lack of interaction in modern life and because of our reliance on computers and the Internet. In her request to the clinic she said her lack of energy and declining health left her with “a life with no enviable future.” Anne took a lethal dose of barbiturates at the clinic, with her niece Linda, 54 at her side.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10747672/Retired-art-teacher-committed-suicide-because-of-frustration-with-modern-life.html

Canada – Vegetative patient communicates with doctors for first time

More than a decade after a car crash left him in an apparently vegetative state, Scott Routley has been able to tell scientists he is not in pain. Researchers have recorded the Canadian man’s responses to “yes” and “no” questions, as an MRI machined scanned his brain activity. It’s the first time someone who is uncommunicative and severely brain damaged has been able to give answers related to their care and treatment. Professor Adrian Owen, the study’s lead researcher at Canada’s University of Western Ontario, said 39-year-old Routley was clearly not vegetative and the text books needed rewriting.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/vegetative-patient-communicates-with-doctors-for-first-time/story-fneuz9ev-1226890794841

HIV/AIDS & STI’s

No news today

Homosexuality

Africa – EU Pressure on Africa to promote homosexuality

African governments reacted negatively when the European Parliament passed a resolution last month threatening sanctions on countries that punish homosexual acts. The resolution was a response to Uganda and Nigeria toughening sodomy laws and outlawing the promotion of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The European Parliament asked that the governments of Uganda and Nigeria no longer be given development aid from the European Union. The Africans promptly countered. Each society has a human right to defend its culture and traditions and “determine its own moral values and norms” through its democratic institutions, African nations said in a declaration issued a few days later.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/eu-pressure-on-homosexuality-complicates-eu-africa-summit

USA – Trans Women Are 49 Times More Likely to Have HIV

Last month, The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) released a report, titled, “Trans Populations and HIV: Time to End the Neglect,” detailing the high rate of HIV infection among transgender men and women along with the failings of the HIV-focused medical community. The report’s estimate suggests that trans women are among the most at risk demographic, and are an estimated 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than members of the general population. Rates of infection are even higher among trans women of color. The reason for this alarmingly high rate of infection appears to hinge on a number of factors, including economic status, a propensity to engage in survival sex work, likelihood of intravenous drug use, and other high-risk behaviors.

http://www.hivplusmag.com/stigma/2014/04/22/shocking-study-trans-women-are-49-times-more-likely-have-hiv-other-women

UK – Promoting homosexuality on the rise in UK schools

“An increasing number of schools are introducing Section 28-style bans on promoting homosexuality, in the classroom,” delegates told the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference in Brighton this week,” media sources report. However, a motion before the conference has said, “That at least 46 schools, including a number of academies, had words similar to the previous legislation in their school policies. ”Deborah Glynn, from St Helens, Lancashire, highlighted research by the British Humanist Association, to the conference, “Which,” she said, “showed that there are many schools bringing this wording back into their policies.”

http://www.theafricom.com/uk-bans-against-promoting-homosexuality-in-the-classroom-on-the-riseteachers-say/

IVF &Surrogacy

USA – Rates of IVF continue to grow

A new healthcare analytics report has revealed just how much the IVF market is growing. The report, produced by Allied Analytics LLP, estimates that the net worth of the IVF market at the end of 2012 was US$9.3 billion, a figure which is set to increase to $21.6 billion by 2020. Delayed pregnancy in women is one of the key factors driving the increased use of IVF. Increased rates of infertility, due to stress levels, change in lifestyle and fertility related diseases, have also contributed to the increase in IVF. Developing economies are emerging to be the most preferred destination for IVF treatments with increasing focus on advanced technologies, improving health care infrastructure and favourable health care cost.

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10915

Japan – Researchers find ‘Juno,’ a key to fertility

Fertilization takes place when the female egg and the male sperm fuse and create an embryo. But how the egg and the sperm recognize one another in the first place is a more complicated question. Only in 2005 did Japanese researchers identify a receptor protein named “Izumo” on the sperm that recognized the egg. In the latest edition of the journal Nature, researchers report identifying the corresponding receptor protein on the egg: They named it “Juno.” A team of four from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Britain, led by Gavin Wright and Enrica Bianchi, made the discovery. Juno performs another crucial task: it blocks other sperm cells from joining to an egg once it has been fertilized.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/04/17/researchers-find-juno-a-key-to-fertility-discovery-could-help-with-ivf-and-contraception/?tid=hp_mm

Ghana – First IVF quadruplets delivered in Kumasi

The Trustcare Specialist Hospital and Fertility Centre in Kumasi on Friday cut a slice of medical history for itself, when it delivered a set of quadruplets through in-vitro fertilization. The babies, three males and a female, together with their 42-year old mother, are doing well. The pioneer assisted-reproductive technology centre in Kumasi, in a press release signed by Isaac Kofi Adu, clinical embryologist, said it had within the past three years delivered a number of multiple pregnancies. The release explained that to make IVF treatment affordable, the centre is collaborating with the Association of Childless Couples of Ghana (ACCOG), and “Walking Egg Organization” in Belgium, to bring low cost technology but effective IVF services to Ghana.

http://vibeghana.com/2014/04/28/first-ivf-quadruplets-delivered-in-kumasi/

Medical Ethics

Belgium – Citizens’ Initiative against embryonic stem cells EU can’t ignore

One of Us, a European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures is against embryonic stem cell research from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed. Under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation. E.U. member states have different regulations in the area of embryonic stem cell research, ranging from very permissive, for example in Belgium, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, where creating embryos for research purposes is allowed, to very restrictive, as in Poland and Lithuania, where research with embryonic stem cells is illegal. The union does not sponsor research that is illegal in the country where it would take place.

http://news.sciencemag.org/europe/2014/04/pro-lifecitizens-initiative-worries-e.u.-scientists?rss=1

UK – Alarm over care of the elderly

The Lancet has published an alarming editorial about the pressure on healthcare systems from an growing elderly population. The key issue is demographic as the proportion of people over 60 years will double from about 11{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} to 22{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} by 2050. In addition, Western nations such as Britain have significantly cut funding to elderly care in recent years and public funding for older people’s social care fell by a massive £1·2 billion or 15·4 {01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} between 2010 and 2014, even though it had been stagnant between 2005 and 2010. The authors are concerned particularly for middle to low income countries such as China, which face the same issues as the US and the UK, but with less funding to address it.

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10928

India – Row over clinical trial as 254 Indian women die

The death of 254 Indian women in a 15-year US-funded clinical trial for a cervical cancer screening method has triggered a raging debate about its ethicality. It is a well established fact that any kind of cervical screening reduces the incidence of the cancer. Yet, almost 140,000 women in the control arm of the trial were not screened. After a complaint, the United States Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) determined that the women were not given adequate information to give informed consent. If, at any time during the past 15 years, the women in the unscreened control groups had been told the simple truth that cervical screening would lower their risk of death from cancer, they would have left the control groups and sought screening on their own, thereby nullifying a scientifically defective experimental design. The OHRP determined that it was thus difficult to presume that the studies are not compromised by the inadequate informed consent.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Row-over-clinical-trial-as-254-Indian-women-die/articleshow/34016785.cms

USA – bioethicists take Belgian child euthanasia to task

American bioethicists have criticised Belgium’s law permitting children with terminal illness to choose euthanasia. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Art Caplan and colleagues argue that children do not have adults’ capacity for informed consent. “Children and adolescents lack the experiential knowledge and sense of self that adults often invoke, rightly or wrongly, at the end of their lives,” they argue. Furthermore, a developed nation like Belgium ought to have good enough palliative care so that no child will experience “constant and unbearable suffering”. The ethical way to achieve this goal should be expanded education and clinical guidance around the provision of aggressive palliative care.

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10937

Pedophilia

USA – Child abuse costing the church billions of dollars

Almost $3 billion is what allegations of child sex abuse has cost the American church between 2004 and 2013. The data was released in the 11th annual report from the US Episcopal conference on progress in the implementation of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People. The costs include the settlements, therapy and psychological care for victims and legal fees. The analysis conducted by StoneBridge Business Partners particularly looked at 127 diocese for the period from July 2012 to 30 June 2013. During this time, there were 857 victims of sexual abuse and more than 900 complaints against the church. However, not all cases had sufficient evidence to launch a lawsuit against the clergy accused of paedophilia.

http://www.west-info.eu/child-abuse-costing-the-church-billions-of-dollars/

UK – Downloading child abuse ‘manuals’ to be made illegal

Downloading manuals containing guidance on how to groom children for sexual abuse is to become a criminal offence, the government has said. The government must ensure police have the investigative capacity to infiltrate and disrupt the networks of offenders hidden online. Prime Minister David Cameron said “It’s completely unacceptable that there is a loophole in the law which allows pedophiles to write and distribute these disgusting documents.” I want to ensure we do everything we can to protect children – and that’s why I am making them illegal.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-27177040

Pornography

UK – New system can scan the internet for illegal images

Scientists have developed a new system that makes it possible to scan traffic on the internet for illegal photographs. The system can, for example, help trace child pornography on the internet without infringing on the privacy of internet users, said researchers at the University of Twente in The Netherlands. Internet service providers could use the tool to keep their network ‘clean’, they said. The police use a standard database to detect illegal photographs such as child pornography on equipment they seize, such as computers or USB sticks.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/New-system-can-scan-internet-for-illegal-images/articleshow/32784262.cms

Prostitution & Trafficking

USA – Oklahoma House passes three human trafficking bills

Three Senate bills aimed to combat human trafficking cleared the state House of Representatives this week. If the bills become law, those convicted of human trafficking in the future could find it much more difficult to live a normal life in Oklahoma once being released from prison. One of the three new bills would help victims who want suspects to pay them back financially. Another would require those convicted of the crime serve 85 percent of their time before being eligible for parole. The final bill would ensure convicts would have to register as sex offenders.

http://www.fox23.com/news/local/story/Okla-House-passes-three-human-trafficking-bills/0br8lwZb60WiWOT6M5h1JA.cspx

USA – Amnesty International should not endorse legalizing prostitution

An estimated 16,000 girls and women in the Chicago area are involved in the sex trade, according to a 2002 study. The only way we can put an end to prostitution is by penalizing its purchase and Amnesty International is set to decide whether it should endorse a policy to legalize the purchase of sex. Supporters of the policy change allege that decriminalizing paying for sex is a solution to the harms associated with prostitution. They say decriminalization would protect the health and safety of prostitutes and ultimately would curtail the domestic and international sex trade. However, virtually every person bought for sex, boy, girl, teenager or adult, would not choose prostitution if they saw another way to survive.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-04-04/opinion/ct-prostitution-sex-trafficking-legal-illegal-vote-20140404_1_prostitution-decriminalization-a

UK – Outlaw buying sex, says former Tory minister Caroline Spelman

The former Tory cabinet minister Caroline Spelman has called for the UK to consider criminalising the purchase of sex. She said she was shocked by estimates that thousands of prostitutes in the UK had been trafficked, and believed such sexual exploitation would have to be addressed through reducing demand. Demands for Britain to look again at changing prostitution laws come as France is passing legislation to emulate the Nordic model and the law is under review in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Finland and Canada.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/apr/21/outlaw-buying-sex-caroline-spelman-nordic-model-prostitution

Stem Cells & Cloning

No news today

Substance Abuse

USA –  Dagga: Debunking Pot Proponents’ Prison Myths

Dagga (marijuana) crusaders have waged an excellent campaign convincing people America’s prisons are overflowing with “nonviolent, petty” drug users costing millions in tax money. Pennsylvania State Senator Leach, a staunch advocate of legalizing marijuana, stated in 2013, “According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), 24,685 marijuana arrests were made in Pennsylvania in 2006 at a cost of $325.36 million to taxpayers”. But according to Rafael Lemaitre, the communications director of the ONDCP, the office “does not maintain arrest figures.” The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, whom however provide specific data, said there are fewer than 300 people sentenced to prison in Pennsylvania each year for marijuana, of which only about 5 are for possession of ‘small amounts’.

http://www.mainstreet.com/article/smart-spending/marijuana-and-punishment-debunking-pot-proponents-prison-myths

USA – Marijuana and tobacco, treated very differently by government

When it comes to tobacco and marijuana, public policies appear headed in contradictory directions. For years, candy cigarettes have been criticized as providing children a gateway to tobacco smoking leading to a federal ban in 2009. Yet in Colorado, the legalization of marijuana has produced a host of different candy products infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in pot. Dr. Andrew Monte, a medical toxicologist at the University of Colorado Medical School, said a poison control call occurs every few days involving a child ‘accidentally’ eating marijuana products. “The state of Colorado and the state of Washington are seeing significant, both social and enforcement, issues,” Ricky Adams, chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

http://www.gopusa.com/freshink/2014/04/22/marijuana-tobacco-treated-very-differently-by-the-government/?subscriber=1

USA – Christie: I Will ‘Never’ Legalize Weed in N.J.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie repeated his well-known opposition to legalizing marijuana in his state, and sharply criticized one that has done just that – Colorado. “To me, it’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey, and there’s no tax revenue that’s worth that.” Christie said on a public radio show. He vowed “never” to legalize the drug while in office because of its negative impact on people’s brains, citing a recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience released that found even smokers who used it once or twice experienced “significant abnormalities” in vital brain regions.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/21/christie-on-pot-colorado-law-not-the-quality-of-life-we-want/

USA – Recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain

The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to The Journal of Neuroscience. The study suggests that even light to moderate recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain anatomy,” said Carl Lupica, PhD. The current study, Jodi Gilman, PhD, Anne Blood, PhD, and Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brains of 18- to 25-year olds who reported smoking marijuana at least once per week with those with little to no history of marijuana use. 106 http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/lifestyle/2014/04/22/recreational-marijuana-use-can-cause-changes-in-brain/

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

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LIFEalerts 10 April 2014

Abortion USA – Abortion insurance law taking effect in MichiganUSA – War on women when men force abortionUSA – Abortion restrictions pass 85-6 out of Louisiana House Alternative Medicine South Africa – Traditional Medicine Almost Kills Baby Euthanasia UK – Assisted suicide moves closer as UK Government allows free voteUK – Cameron comes out against assisted dyingUSA – Connecticut Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide Defeated in Committee HIV/AIDS No news today Homosexuality No news today IVF & Surrogacy Australia – Study finds IVF adults just as healthyUSA – Some Doctors Suggest Milder, Cheaper Form of IVFUK – Age limit for IVF treatment increased Medical Ethics USA – Rethinking informed consentUSA – Nation must debate “mitochondrial transfer”UK – Doctors call for revision of baby organ donation rulesUK – Stillborn babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals Pedophilia South Africa – Dad turns teen in for naked ‘selfies’USA – Police break up ring sharing indecent images of childrenUK – Mom, 21, slept with 8-year-old boyNetherlands – Advocate general wants pro-paedophilia group banned Pornography No news today Prostitution &Trafficking UK – Britain’s prostitution laws are a messCanada – Prostitution law consultations find little consensus among police Stem Cells & Cloning Japan – Doubts mount about new stem cell paper Substance Abuse USA – Marijuana’s health effects need more study, say expertsUSA – Rules require child-proof packaging, outlaws marijuana laced sweetsCanada – Medical marijuana users no longer allowed to grow their own potUSA – Marijuana may hurt the developing teen brain

Abortion

USA – Abortion insurance law taking effect in Michigan

Michigan residents who buy health coverage in the private marketplace will not have access to abortion coverage, even if a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. A new law prohibits insurance companies from covering abortion services unless customers purchase separate add-ons to their insurance plans ahead of time. The Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act was passed in December by the Republican-controlled Legislature after a debate. Proponents say the law protects those who object to abortion from having any of their premiums used to cover the procedure for other customers in their group plans or within the health-care exchange. Opponents say the bill threatens women’s health by limiting access to a procedure that is legal and constitutionally protected.

http://www.freep.com/article/20140312/NEWS06/303120050/Abortion-insurance-law-taking-effect-Michigan

USA – War on women when men force abortion

A Texas organization has been uncovering the dark side of the nation’s abortion industry by exposing what happens when men use the procedure to escape responsibilities. Mark Crutcher, the founder and president of Life Dynamics, noted that the early feminist leaders in America were openly opposed to the legalization of abortion. “They understood that legalized abortion has nothing to do with women’s equality,” he said. “Women don’t need surgery to be equal to men. What abortion is, is a safety net for sexually predatory and sexually irresponsible males.”

http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/war-on-women-when-men-force-abortion/#KLJHF45EPeIfk8us.99

USA – Abortion restrictions pass 85-6 out of Louisiana House

The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill 85-6 that would restrict access to abortion services. The legislation now heads to the Louisiana Senate. Abortion rights advocates have said the proposal would immediately close three of Louisiana’s five abortion clinics. Sponsored by Rep. Katrina Jackson,  the legislation would require physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the procedures take place. It also imposes a 24-hour waiting period on abortion-inducing medication as surgical abortions. Some doctors in private practice would also have to register with the state as an abortion providers and their name, location and status as an abortion provider would be public information.

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/03/louisiana_house_abortion_vote.htm

Alternative Medicine

South Africa – Traditional Medicine Almost Kills Baby

When it comes to traditional medicine, some parents are torn between the advice of nurses and that of their own parents. For a Mpumalanga mother, this battle of wills almost cost her baby’s life. When Lerato was born, nurses told Ngobeni to bring Lerato back within a week for a check up, but Ngobeni’s mother advised against it. The next day Lerato got diarrhea, but her mother told her not to worry because that was normal. Finally the baby was taken to the nearest hospital. Nurse Ntombi Zungu said young mothers often find themselves in situations similar to Ngobeni’s. “Some young mothers sometimes feel disempowered as parents because their own parents have so much power over them.”

http://allafrica.com/stories/201404021052.html

Euthanasia

UK – Assisted suicide moves closer as UK Government allows free vote

Although opinion in the Commons is divided, and doctors, disability campaigners and Churches have warned that a relaxation in the law could leave vulnerable people at risk and damage the doctor-patient relationship, the Government still says it will allow MPs a free vote on Lord Falconer’s Bill introducing assisted suicide, bringing legislation a significant step closer.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10685362/Assisted-suicide-moves-closer-as-Government-allows-free-vote.html

UK – Cameron comes out against assisted dying

Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his opposition to assisted suicide in advance of the issue being debated in Parliament, arguing that people who are terminally ill will feel unfairly pressurized into ending their lives. Mr Cameron has opposed assisted dying before but was speaking out because the private members’ bill drawn up by Lord (Charles) Falconer of is due to be debated in the House of Lords. The bill would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives if two doctors confirm they are unlikely to live more than six months. But opponents to the move, including Lord Carlile and Baroness Butler-Sloss say safeguards in the bill are inadequate.

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/616/0/cameron-comes-out-against-assisted-dying-which-could-unfairly-pressurise-the-terminally-ill-

USA – Connecticut Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide Defeated in Committee

The Family Institute of Connecticut announced that the Connecticut Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide was defeated for the second year in a row. “Despite our decisive victory today, the war is not over. Indeed, it may continue for several years.” Peter Wolfgang, the president of Family Institute of Connecticut said.

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/03/28/connecticut-bill-to-legalize-assisted-suicide-defeated-in-committee/

HIV/AIDS & STI’s

No news today

Homosexuality

No news today

IVF &Surrogacy

Australia – Study finds IVF adults just as healthy

Young adults conceived through IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have grown up to be as healthy as those conceived naturally according to a recent study. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute led study found ART children had a higher rate of hospitalisation, asthma and hay fever. While this was attributed to ART parents worrying more about their children’s health, researchers still said it should warrant more investigation. The study of 656 mothers of children aged 18 to 29 found no evidence of increased rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in ART children.

http://www.theleader.com.au/story/2145419/study-finds-ivf-adults-just-as-healthy/?cs=1255

USA – Some Doctors Suggest Milder, Cheaper Form of IVF

Some fertility clinics are offering a gentler version of IVF that uses fewer, milder drugs and requires less frequent medical visits. However, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says pregnancy rates from minimal-stimulation IVF are likely to be lower than traditional IVF, defined as a protocol of milder doses of injectable drugs, oral drugs or a combination that aims for the collection of two to seven eggs. Proponents say it is a good option for patients with a strong response to fertility drugs and are at high risk of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, a dangerous complication. It is also appropriate for women who do not want to be faced with a decision about what to do with embryos they don’t use.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304554004579423553575221452

UK – Age limit for IVF treatment increased to 39

The NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) introduced changes to the age limits that women living in Dorset can qualify for in vitro fertilisation (IVF). The former age range for the service is between 30 and 35 – but  now a new upper age limit of 39 has been introduced. Treatment must be completed by the woman’s 40th birthday. During the period of the interim policy the CCG governing body will be consulting on its proposal to reduce the number of cycles available from two to one. One cycle of treatment would consist of one fresh cycle and one frozen cycle, where embryos have been stored during the fresh cycle.

http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/11123768.Age_limit_for_IVF_treatment_increased_to_39/

Medical Ethics

USA – Rethinking informed consent

Since the Belmont Report in 1978 researchers have applied the principle of informed consent to their daily work. Now the authors of that report are questioning their conclusions. In the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Tom Beauchamp outlines a new set of principles providing for the waiving of informed consent in situations that fall below “a threshold of negative effect”. The authors argue where research has “no or only minor effects on important patient interests” it is permissible to proceed without explicit consent. “It may even be acceptable for an ethics-oversight panel to permit the study to proceed with broad notification to the community of the system, without requiring that individual patients be told about the randomization.”

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10880

USA – Nation must debate “mitochondrial transfer”

President emeritus of the Hastings Centre for Bioethics Thomas H. Murray has written a forceful editorial in Science calling for “a nationwide conversation about current and emerging reproductive technologies”. His article focused mainly on the question of mitochondrial manipulation as the FDA is yet to decide whether it will authorize clinical trials of mitochondrial manipulation technologies. “Discussion of the ethics of mitochondrial manipulation cannot be postponed indefinitely”, Murray wrote. “This is a task for the US Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to pursue, given that its mission is to ensure that scientific research, health care delivery, and technological innovation are conducted in a socially and ethically responsible manner.”

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10894

UK – Doctors call for revision of baby organ donation rules

In the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood pediatricians want the government to allow “brain-dead” newborns to donate organs. “For an infant awaiting a heart transplant, only a small-sized infant organ can be used …,” researchers said. Currently, using organs from brain-dead children aged between 37 weeks and two months is banned. Donation after cardiac death is permitted, but for practical reasons this option is seldom used. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Guidelines say it is “rarely possible to confirm death using neurological criteria in infants under two months of age”. Since only organs from dead donors can be used ethically, UK pediatricians have been told not to transplant them. However, it is possible in Australia and the US.

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10902

UK – Stillborn babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals

Ten divisions of the National Health Service have admitted that they have been burning the remains of aborted and miscarried babies as heating fuel with medical rubbish, and two actually used the bodies in “waste-to-energy” plants to heat the hospitals. At least 15,500 foetal remains have been incinerated over the past two years and at one of Britain’s best hospitals in Cambridge, mothers were told their babies had been ‘cremated.’ After a channel 4 program aired earlier this week, the Department of Health immediately banned the practice and health minister, Dr Dan Poulter declared that it was ‘totally unacceptable.’ Sands, a British charity which deals with stillbirth and neonatal deaths, said that cremation is the best policy, never incineration.

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10909

Pedophilia

South Africa – Dad turns teen in for naked ‘selfies’

 A 17-year-old girl has been sentenced for manufacturing and distributing child pornography, after her father turned her in for sending a man, aged 42, naked “selfies”. The Grade 10 student, who is pregnant, was given a three-year suspended prison sentence after entering a plea agreement at the Welkom Magistrate’s Court last month. The newspaper reported that in February, the father found explicit messages and photographs on her phone and turned them over to the police. She had apparently been corresponding with the 42-year-old and two teenage boys. The middle-aged man who received the photographs was convicted of child sexual grooming and also received a three-year suspended sentence.

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/dad-turns-teen-in-for-naked-selfies-1.1662051#.Uya5d9jMQkE

USA – Police break up ring sharing indecent images of children

Officials in the US have dismantled a huge international ring sharing indecent images of children – one of the largest such operations ever uncovered, American authorities say. They say that 14 men running a secret, members-only website have been arrested. About 250 children, mostly boys from the US, appeared on the site. The website had more than 27,000 subscribers, many of whom have been charged in individual cases. The 14 men arrested have been charged with conspiracy to operate a child exploitation enterprise. At the time it was dismantled, the illegal website contained more than 2,000 shared webcam-captured videos of mostly juvenile boys, officials say.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26639092

UK – Mom, 21, slept with 8-year-old boy

A 21-year-old UK woman has been sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of having a long-term sexual relationship with a child. She had been 16 when she began sleeping with the boy who was eight years old at the time. And was caught when the boy began bragging about the affair; he claims they slept together up to 50 times. The woman was found to be highly immature, and sentenced only to two years, of which she’ll only serve 12 months. She’ll  also be placed on the sexual offender’s registry for ten years and will denied contact with children under the age of 16.

http://www.parent24.com/School_7-12/health_safety/Mom-21-slept-with-8-year-old-boy-50-times-20140319

Netherlands – Advocate general recommends banning pro-paedophilia group

The advocate general has recommended the Supreme Court ban the paedophile association Stichting Martijn, signalling the end of a legal battle which has been going on since 2011. The Martijn Foundation campaigns for the legalisation of sexual contact between adults and children and has been the subject of a convoluted legal battle for years. The advocate general, Vino Timmerman, said he recognised his position conflicts with freedom of expression and freedom of association rules. However, the protection of children should weigh more heavily, Timmerman said. This position is also key in European and international law. The advocate general’s recommendations are usually accepted by the Supreme Court.

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/03/advocate_general_recommends_ba.php#sthash.T9nkwSeE.dpuf

Pornography

No news today

Prostitution & Trafficking

UK – Britain’s prostitution laws are a mess

If the government follows the recommendations of a report released on March 3rd by the all-party Parliamentary group on prostitution, prostitutes customers would become lawbreakers. The politicians’ report calls for an overhaul of the muddled laws that govern prostitution in England and Wales. The legislation does not protect vulnerable women, argues the group. It does not crimp demand and so sanctions the sexual exploitation of women by men and fails to recognize prostitution as a form of violence against women. The group proposes criminalizing the purchase of sex and toughening laws on pimping and underage prostitution.

.http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21598672-britains-prostitution-laws-are-mess-proposed-alternatives-are-worse-caveat-emptor

Canada – Prostitution law consultations find little consensus among police

The Calgary police Chief wants to outlaw prostitution altogether. “You can create a series of laws where you come down hard on the user and look at the provider as a victim.” He says officers need the law as a tool to give them access to victimized men and women who were coerced into sex work. “Then you have courses of action to move that person towards treatment or counseling or getting them out of that lifestyle.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/prostitution-law-consultations-find-little-consensus-among-police-1.2595728

Stem Cells & Cloning

Japan – Doubts mount about new stem cell paper

The world’s leading science journal, Nature, may end up with egg on its face as complaints mount about a recent paper on a radical new method of creating pluripotent stem cells. Stem cell scientist Teruhiko Wakayama, has called for the paper to be retracted after problems surfaced with the images, and allegations of plagiarism. He now says that he is not sure that the cells given to him were really created by the technique. “Overall there are now just too many uncertainties about it. I think we have to wait for some confirmation.” The original paper about “stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency” (STAP) cells was published in Nature in January.

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10885

Substance Abuse

USA – Marijuana’s health effects need more study, say experts

Marijuana use rates have risen by 30 percent from 2006 to 2010, according to a new study from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and RAND Drug Policy Research Center. What is known is that marijuana has many effects on health, but not all of them are therapeutic. Marijuana increases heart rate and blood pressure when it hits the heart, which may be problematic for some with preexisting conditions. Many receptors and found in different parts of the brain, affecting areas for pleasure and cognition, but also raising risk for addiction because of a flood of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is linked to pleasure.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuanas-health-effects-need-more-study-say-experts/

USA – Rules require child-proof packaging, outlaws marijuana laced sweets

In the latest wake of problems with the so-called medical marijuana laws the Oregon Health Authority issued draft rules aimed at keeping marijuana-infused foods and candies from children. They essentially ban many marijuana laced sweets and cookies popular with patients and is likely to cause an uproar. Oregon’s draft rules state that a dispensary may not transfer to patients marijuana-infused products “manufactured in a form that resembles cake-like products, cookies, candy, or gum, or that otherwise may be attractive to minors because of its shape, color, or taste.” The rules also require child-proof and opaque packaging so the product isn’t visible from the outside. Cartoon pictures etc are also not allowed.

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/03/medical_marijuana_in_oregon_ne.html

Canada – Medical marijuana users no longer allowed to grow their own pot

Starting April 1st, Canada’s 40,000 so-called medical marijuana patients wont be allowed to grow their own pot anymore but rather buy them from a licensed dealer. In 2001, the Medical Marijuana Access Program allowed “grow your own” production in private homes and small-scale distribution. But in 2012, then-federal Health Minister Leona Agglukkaq said the number of medical marijuana users was growing “exponentially” and was threatening public safety. So the rules were changed. About 450 companies have applied for licenses, but only a dozen have them. The federal government will also require medical “marijuana” users to submit a form declaring they’ve stopped production and have destroyed any plants, seeds or dried product by April 30th.

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/03/20/medical-marijuana-users-no-longer-allowed-to-grow-their-

USA – Marijuana may hurt the developing teen brain In childhood our brain is larger, says Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. During the teenage years, our brain is getting rid of those connections that weren’t really used, and it prunes back. Researchers from Duke University analyzed data gathered over many years from people living in New Zealand. They compared IQs in childhood through age 38 among marijuana users and nonusers. “We found that people who began using marijuana in their teenage years and continued to use marijuana for many years lost about eight IQ points from childhood to adulthood”, says study author Madeline Meier, now a professor at Arizona State University, “whereas those who never used marijuana never lost IQ points.”

http://www.mprnews.org/story/npr/282631913?from=health

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

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