Bioethics

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Pro-life commentary: Prenatal diagnosis and the mentally handicapped

        The evidence is in: the deliberations are over; our subject is found guilty; and the sentence is passed.  Not one word is spoken in his defense, and there is no appeal. What if the crime?  The crime is most serious.  He has been determined to be mentally handicapped.  The penalty is clear, death by saline poisoning.  The Human Rights Commission will not act in his defense because he is “not a person in the whole sense.”  ... (Continue reading)

Artificial Insemination

      Artificial Insemination (AI) is he placing of semen inside a women’s vagina, or directly into the uterus by means other than sexual intercourse. The semen is collected by masturbation and insemination is timed to coincide with the women’s ovulation. The semen used for AI may be fresh (used within one hour of collection), or previously frozen and thawed just before use.             There are two forms of AI. Artificial Insemination by Husband (AIH) is used when the husband is not ... (Continue reading)

Detecting abnormalities in the unborn: chorionic villi sampling

          Recently there has been widespread publicity of a new method, called chorionic villi sampling, for detecting abnormalities in the unborn child. Cells are taken from the placental tissue (chorion) of the developing child and are studied for chromosomal abnormalities.   It has been thought that any chromosomal defects found in the placenta would also exist in the child. The procedure, now performed in many centres, can be done earlier than amniocenesis, thus permitting earlier abortion, however the ... (Continue reading)

Birth defects

    A U.S. federal judge ruled that a widely-used spermicide caused birth defects in a 3 year old girl and ordered the manufacturer to pay 5.1 million in damages to the child and her mother.             Judge Marvin Shoob ruled that Ortho Pharmaceuticals Corporation of New Jersey, makes of Ortho-Gynol Contraceptive Jelly, should have warned its users that birth defects can result if the jelly fails to prevent conception. (Washington Post, January 24 1985) Expert witnesses testified that the jelly can ... (Continue reading)

    A U.S. federal judge ruled that a widely-used spermicide caused birth defects in a 3 year old girl and ordered the manufacturer to pay 5.1 million in damages to the child and her mother.             Judge Marvin Shoob ruled that Ortho Pharmaceuticals Corporation of New Jersey, makes of Ortho-Gynol Contraceptive Jelly, should have warned its users that birth defects can result if the jelly fails to prevent conception. (Washington Post, January 24 1985) Expert witnesses testified that the jelly can ... (Continue reading)

RU-486 abortion pill

      The first “foolproof” abortion pill, called RU-486, is now in its final tests with the British Committee on Safety of Medicines. (see January issue of the The Interim) The pill will be used in France, India and China this year and has been approved by the World Health Organization for use in other Third World Nations.             This pill is being promoted as an effective, non-surgical and safe means to obtain an early abortion. Some British doctors are concerned, however that ... (Continue reading)

Selling babies is illegal in Canada

      Selling babies is illegal in Canada-perhaps. While there are laws which cover money changing hands in the conventional adoption process, there are no specific laws governing the new phenomenon of commercial “surrogate” motherhood.             A surrogate (replacement) mother is one who agrees to conceive and bear a child for another woman. The trouble is, the “surrogate” mother is the child’s actual biological mother. (The second woman involved in the agreement is an “adoptive” mother or the real replacement, but the ... (Continue reading)

Britain’s MP’s ban embryo experiments

            Private Member’s bills usually attract little attention, but Mr. Enoch Powell’s measure-the Unborn Children Protection Bill- is not in this category. It’s importance is underscored by the fact that, although attendance in the House of Commons is usually sparse on Fridays, an unusually large number of Members attended the Bill’s second reading on Friday February 15 1985. The vote was 238-66 or 78.6 per cent for the bill.   Public Interest             The great interest of the general public on the ... (Continue reading)

Pro-life commentary: MSAFP testing: the latest “search and destroy” technology

      The Newcastle area of New Brunswick has the distinction of having one of the world’s most comprehensive programmes of parental screening for spina bifida. According to one source at the Miramichi Hospital, a blood test, called the Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein Test (MSAFP) is “routine” for all prenatals. In 1983 this test was used in 695 maternity-related cases in New Brunswick. The MSAFP test was developed in 1972 when Dr. David Brock of Scotland discovered that a serum protein ... (Continue reading)

Bits and pieces

    Two years ago I wrote my first column. It was for the first issue of The Interim and was on “pro-life feminism,” a constant theme of many subsequent columns. When I wrote that first column, I thought I’d soon run out of things to say on the abortion issue and I’m sure that some of you who persist in the reading my ramblings would agree that I had. I was prepared for neither the sheer amount of material I would ... (Continue reading)

In Vitro M.D. ignores fetal tests

    Dr. David Armstrong, scientific director of the test-tube clinic at the University of Western Ontario, does not appear to know how rapidly life develops. In an interview with Rose Dimanno of the Toronto Star on February 12, Dr. Armstrong defended his recommendation that human embryos be mass-produced and kept up to 28 days for experiments because, he said “up to 28 days, they’re still at the four-cell stage.” Armstrong made his recommendation at a recent meeting of the Medical Research ... (Continue reading)

U of T contraceptives

  A health-care package being planned by the University of Toronto’s Students’ Council is to include coverage for contraceptives.  Some other universities already have student-sponsored health benefits but none include coverage for contraceptives.   If it goes into effect, the plan will be mandatory for all full time students.  An executive of the Students Administrative Council, Kevin Perkins was reported by the Toronto Globe as having indicated that the addition of contraceptives to the plan might account for as much as half ... (Continue reading)

Pro-life commentary on the prevention of Down’s syndrome through amniocentesis

                                             Genetic Counseling is that field of medicine which is involved in gathering genetic and family information in an effort to determine whether a particular couple would be likely to pass on certain genetic diseases to any future children. A risk ratio may be formulated and the couple would then decide whether or not to have children or perhaps they would consider the alternative of adoption.   Since the liberalization of abortion, genetic counseling has expanded to include prenatal diagnosis. Projecting the ... (Continue reading)

The Editorial: Slicing them open

The recent disclosure that vaccines were produced from tissues of aborted babies had three main pro-life reactions: the immediate one of repugnance; the second, "why were we not told?" the third, "what experimentation that we don't know about is going on now?"  The answer to the last question is that human vivisection of live aborted babies is almost commonplace, even though it is in violation of international guidelines such as the Nuemberg Code. Published research from ... (Continue reading)

The Abortion Pill

  Canadian newspapers reported recently that next year the first “foolproof” birth control drug will be distributed in Europe.  “First foolproof post pregnancy birth control pill” read the Ottawa Citizen caption. (Dec. 5).  “Foolproof pill ready next year,” said the Toronto Sun.  The Winnipeg Free Press, however, headed its short news item more accurately: “Abortion pill safe, labs say.” (Dec. 4).   The new pill invented by Dr. Etienne Beaulieu of Paris is an abortion-causing pill.  “Its main target,” he said, “is ... (Continue reading)

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