International Right to Life Federation, Inc.
Vol. 14 No. 2
(March/April, 2003)

Quebec Offers Birth Incentives

Responding to the fact that Quebec has a very high rate of abortion and one of the lowest birthrates in the world, it now has offered multiple incentives for increasing the birthrate. It will pay half the college loan of graduating students, if they have children within five years after graduation. It has promised to enact a four-day workweek for parents with young children. It offers baby bonuses of $500 for the first child, $1,000 for the second and $7,500 for third and subsequent children, and will offer interest free loans of up to $5,000 to purchase a home.

Australia

The Australian capital territory surrounding Canberra (equivalent to the District of Columbia in the U.S.) has voted by a 9 to 8 margin to remove abortion from the criminal code. By the same margin, it overturned a law that required abortion clinics to provide women considering abortion with literature to study first. Also no longer mandatory is a previously required 72-hour cooling off period. This will open up that small 900 square mile area to become a mecca for abortion-on-demand with no restrictions.

Romania-How Many Abortions?

Exact numbers of the abortion rate in Romania are difficult to come by. The latest we have heard is as follows. Romania's population is stagnant at 24 million people. In 2002 there were 700,000 abortions, which ended 70% of the one million pregnancies recorded. This means that there were 2.33 babies killed for every one allowed to be born. Government figures show an equal percentage of abortions among unmarried and among married women.

Germany Calls for Complete Cloning Ban

In direct defiance of Chancellor Gerhart Schroeder's pro-cloning position, the German Parliament overwhelmingly approved a declaration urging him and his UN delegation to change their position. Members of all major German political parties joined to vote in its favor. They requested that Germany back a comprehensive ban on all forms of human cloning. This would include the "clone and kill" research type. It would also include the so-called "reproductive" type. The Parliament even suggested that the German government should partner with the United States to achieve this goal. While not legally binding, this resolution should hopefully cause the Chancellor to change his opinion, and this hopefully will also be translated into a change of policy in the German delegation at the United Nations.

Human Cloning Impossible?

It is possible that consistent failure in non-human primate cloning attempts may predict that human cloning is "nearly impossible." In the April issues of the journal Science, researchers reported that they had worked extensively cloning monkeys. They used 724 eggs from female monkeys, transferring 33 embryos into surrogates after cell division began, but no pregnancies occurred. They postulate that the procedure failed because the cloned embryos did not have the proper protein to allow cells to divide properly. The chromosomes "were scattered in a helter skelter fashion." The Science article stated that "this is certainly a nail in the coffin of reproductive cloning with the technology we now have available." While this may signal that human cloning is all but impossible, the editors said that such a statement would be premature.

First Dolly, Now Matilda

Dolly was the first cloned sheep to survive, the only one of 277 tries. She developed progressive premature arthritis, other signs of premature aging, and then progressive lung disease. All of these are common in a sheep nearing the end of her average 11 to 12-year life span. Dolly was only six when she was euthanized for the incurable illnesses.
Matilda was Australia's first cloned sheep. Only one week after Dolly's death, Matilda died suddenly on February 19. She was younger than Dolly. Sudden premature death has frequently been reported in cloned mammals. The technique used to create both of these sheep is exactly the technique that is being proposed for human cloning, both "research," which is the "clone and kill" type and "reproductive," which would bring the cloned human to term and birth.

Cloned Cow Killed

In a recent cloning attempt, two calves were born. These were bantengs, a rare species of Asian cattle. One calf weighed 40 pounds, which is average weight. The second calf weighed 80 pounds, twice normal. The larger calf looked healthy at first but then rapidly deteriorated and had to be euthanized. This is a fairly common example among cloned animals. Cloning is fraught with many problems, and this illustrates one of them.

Not Eligible for Survivor's Benefits

A federal judge in the state of Arizona has ruled that two children, conceived with the sperm of a deceased man, cannot legally be considered his children and are thus ineligible for survivor benefits under federal Social Security laws. The father had been diagnosed with cancer and had his sperm stored in the event that the chemotherapy rendered him infertile. He did not survive. Ten months after his death, his wife became pregnant by artificial insemination with his frozen sperm. After the twins' birth, she went to court stating that she was due survivor benefits from the government, for these were her "natural children." The judge, however, ruled that the child must have been conceived before the parent's death to qualify.

Vietnam and Cloning

A new law in Vietnam, effective 1 May, now bans all human cloning. It also bans surrogate motherhood and all methods of choosing the sex of the unborn child. It still allows in vitro fertilization but forbids foreigners from donating or receiving eggs, sperm or embryos.

Surprise-UN Admits Population Drop

The UN population division had forecast that by 2050 there would be 9.3 billion people on the earth. They have now reduced their estimate to 8.9 billion. They stated that half of the drop would be due to AIDS deaths, the other half to a reduction in birthrate. It predicts that almost every developed nation and three-fourths of less developed nations will have birthrates below replacement by mid-century. In those countries with the most disastrous birth dearths, they predict that by mid-century Japan will lose 14 percent of its population, Italy 22 percent, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Russia and Ukraine between 30 and 50 percent of their current populations. Your editors note that, in fact, the situation may even be worse than they are predicting.

Rotary Renews Pro-Abortion Commitment

Rotary International and the strongly pro-abortion UN Population Fund have renewed their commitment to work together on population and development issues around the world. The UNFPA press release of February 5, 2003 welcomed the renewal of this "memorandum of cooperation," stating, "We cannot confront the massive challenges of poverty, hunger, disease and environmental destruction unless we address issues of population and reproductive health." This is tragic (see article above). Rotary International has been providing humanitarian service in 160 countries through 30,000 rotary clubs. Now they are turning to compulsory abortion and sterilization in cooperation with the aggressively pro-abortion UNFPA.

Congenital Problems With IVF

In vitro fertilization has become a very common procedure worldwide. Enough babies have now been born so that some studies have been done on large groups. The findings are somewhat disturbing. It seems that there are more problems with these babies than those conceived and born naturally. From The Netherlands has come a study showing that the risk of retinoblastoma, a malignant tumor in the eye, has a risk of up to seven times greater among children conceived by IVF. In Britain, researchers have found a greater risk of Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (birth defects and childhood cancer). In addition to these structural problems, there were functional problems. IVF babies were twice as likely to need neurological therapy, with the most common diagnosis being cerebral palsy (3.7 times more common). The second most common neurological problem, developmental delay, was increased four-fold in IVF children. No causative reasons for these problems were suggested.

Another Death

A British teenage girl, Claire Stanley, who was taking "a contraceptive pill favored by young girls because it improves the complexion," died from a massive blood clot. ("Ananova" 4-12-02)

More Babies in Russia?
On 27 December, the London Telegraph reported on an interesting approach in the Russian city of Ahtubinsk, a poverty-stricken region in southern Russia. They are attempting what can only be described as a desperate effort to reverse their dramatically falling birthrate. The government there has announced that it will provide a free house to any married, fertile woman who promises to bear at least three children. In addition, her husband must be proven not to be an alcoholic or on drugs. Providing she fulfills this childbearing obligation, there would be no repayments to make on the house and after five years she would owe nothing. We must note, as a comment, that they are still doing nothing about the sky-high abortion rate. We suggest that even this drastic solution may have limited impact as long as they keep killing at least one baby for every one conceived.

Stem Cell Research Replacing Cloning

Alan Trounson, Australian embryonic stem cell expert, has stated that research on adult stem cells has advanced so rapidly in the past few months that research cloning is now unnecessary. He states, "My view is that there are at least three or four other alternatives that are more attractive already."
The following studies vindicating the above have been published within the past year:

  • In Humans, treating Parkinson's with Adult Stem Cells and Other Alternatives
  • Retinal Cell Implants Improve Parkinson's
  • In Animals, Stimulating Adult Brain Stem Cells Decreases Parkinson's Symptoms
  • Progenitor Cells Reverse Severe Parkinson's Symptoms in Rats
  • Gene Therapies Treat Parkinson's In Rats and Monkeys
  • Adult Stem Cells Reprogrammed Without Cloning
  • Adult Liver Stem Cells Make Pancreatic Cells, Reverse Hyperglycemia in Diabetic Mice
  • Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Transformed into Functional Liver Cells
  • Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Form Blood Vessels
  • Adult Muscle Stem Cells Form Multiple Tissues; Regenerate Dystrophic Muscle
  • Therapeutic Cloning No Longer Needed, Says Leading Embryonic Stem Cell Scientist
  • Adult Stem Cells More Effective Than Embryonic Stem Cells in Blood Formation
  • Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Show Immune Tolerance, Not Reject It
  • Adult Stem Cells Stimulated To Form Insulin Secreting Pancreatic Cells
  • Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Can Repair Retina
  • Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Could Prevent Blindness, Grow New Blood Vessels
  • Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Stimulate Growth in Children With Bone Disease
Summaries and detailed references on the above are available from the Cincinnati Right to Life Office, P.O. Box 24073, Cincinnati, Ohio 45224.

U.S. States Pass Restrictive Abortion Laws

While it is impossible for a state to pass a law forbidding abortion, due to the U.S. Supreme Court decisions, nevertheless certain other laws that restrict or discourage abortion can be passed. A good example of this has been recent action in the state of Arkansas. The governor recently signed a bill there authorizing the use of automobile license plates which include the phrase "Choose Life." People pay extra for this license plate, but the extra money goes to a state agency promoting adoption. The state also recently passed a law banning all human cloning. Finally, a third law requires physicians to offer ultrasound imaging to women seeking abortion. The woman must confirm in writing that she has seen these images. While none of these laws forbid abortion, the result of these and other laws has been a slow reduction in the number of abortions.

Holland-Euthanasia Grossly Underreported

An investigative TV program aired in the Netherlands, 27 February, "The Reporter," said that thousands of cases of life shortening acts are not being reported. An anonymous survey of 355 lung specialists, cited by the program, reported that many doctors resent the official euthanasia paper work and requirement of reporting them, which they say is too time-consuming. To evade this, under the pretext of pain management, such doctors give very ill persons lethal doses of morphine. Others are made unconscious with heavy sedation and then starved to death.

Indonesia Condemns Abortion

Recently, the Ministry of Health in Jakarta submitted a draft bill which would remove the present requirement for a father of an unborn child to give his consent to an abortion in cases where the continuation of a pregnancy would endanger the mother's life. In response to this, the Indonesian Ulemas Counsel, the country's highest Islamic authority, said, "Under no circumstances is abortion condoned by any religion; it is prohibited by all religions as it can be categorized as murder." In a joint statement, representatives of five religions objected to this draft bill.

Disturbing Rumbles in South America

Partly due to the absence of several lawmakers, the lower house of Uruguay's Parliament approved a bill that would legalize abortion in the first three months. The proposal now goes to the Senate, where its chance for passage is highly questionable. Even if the Senate kills this bill, we still have much reason for concern, for the passage of this bill would make Uruguay the first country in South America to legalize abortion.

Australia's "Doctor Death" Has New "Death Machine"

The Australian version of Jack Kavorkian, Dr. Philip Nitschke, has developed a new death machine. It pumps pure carbon monoxide into a mask. The carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in the red blood cells and this kills the patient. In order to get around a law forbidding its use, he claims that it can also pump pure oxygen and therefore could be used as a lifesaving measure.

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