U.S.A. and World Briefs
Congress votes for ESCR funding
WASHINGTON – By a vote of 253-174, the newly elected Democratic House of Representatives voted to lift current limits on federal funding of embryonic stem cells. In 2001, President George W. Bush restricted federal funding for ESCR to existing stem cell lines, but some scientists complained these stem cell colonies were insufficient for their research. In 2006, Bush vetoed a similar bill, the only time he has used a veto pen during his presidency, and has vowed to wield it again if the Senate also votes to extend such funding. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said: “The president will certainly veto the legislation if it comes to his desk, because it would compel all American taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos for the derivation of stem cells.” Pro-life House Republicans are attempting to increase federal funding for stem cells derived from amniotic fluid, which are just as promising but avoid most of the ethical questions embryonic stem cells raise.
Anti-HPV vaccine may be compulsory
More abortions among the younger and less-educated
OSLO – The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reports that Professor Anne Eskild of Akershus University Hospital has found younger and less-educated women were more likely to have an abortion than older or university-educated women. More than half of pregnant women under the age of 25 had an abortion, twice the rate for women over 40. And only 2.9 per cent of women with a university education had abortions. Eskild blames the country’s generous maternal allowances for the trend, saying that having benefits tied to income disadvantages students. Whereas women who are well-established in their careers can afford to take time off to have children, students do not earn enough to collect benefits and their desire for “career and self-realization” outweigh the meagre benefits from the government.
365,000 babies born with AIDS each year
GENEVA – UNICEF has released a report saying that more than 1,000 children are infected with AIDS/HIV every day, when the disease is transmitted from their pregnant mothers to them “mostly” during or immediately following birth. Without early diagnosis and effective treatment, half of them are expected to die within two years from AIDS-related causes. UNICEF says only 9 per cent of HIV-infected pregnant women in middle- and low-income countries receive anti-retroviral drugs that reduce mother-child transmission of the disease.