LIFEalerts 14 April 2015

LIFEalerts 14 April 2015

Abortion USA – Women in Arizona, Arkansas must be told abortion can be “reversed”
Alternative Medicine No news today
Euthanasia Belgium – Many patients euthanized for psychiatric reasons
HIV/AIDS No news today
Homosexuality Canada – Leading psychiatrist slams homosexual therapy ban USA – An honest letter by a woman who was raised by lesbians USA – Fox, CNN and MSNBC Agree: ‘We’re for homosexual Rights France – Keep ban on homosexuals giving blood
IVF & Surrogacy USA – Acupuncture and Chinese medicine in IVF India – New rules for foreign nationals visiting India for surrogacy USA – Infertile Couples may Have Kids from IVF
Medical Ethics UK – Woman wins right to refuse life-saving amputation USA – The bioethics of Googling France – Parliament divided over deep sleep bill USA – New genetic editing technology raises ethical questions
Pedophilia No news today
Pornography UK – Studies show young people wish they were better informed about sex Denmark – Porn belongs in the classroom, or does it? New Zealand – New sexual integrity sex education for schools USA – Connection with Sex Trafficking and pornography
Prostitution &Trafficking Ireland – Testimony of a former prostitute UK- Human traffickers may face life sentence under slavery bill
Stem Cells & Cloning No news today
Substance Abuse USA – Saturation of methadone/suboxone centers increases crime USA – Marijuana Extract CBD for Children With Epilepsy Is Questioned USA – Man shoots himself after eating marijuana candies Scotland – Methadone programme ‘is a black hole’, says drug expert


USA – Women in Arizona, Arkansas must be told abortion can be ‘reversed’

New laws in Arkansas and Arizona require doctors to inform women that drug-induced abortions can be “reversed” mid-procedure. The Arkansas law took effect after Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed it. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed his state’s bill into law earlier this month. “No medical reason exists to deny mothers the opportunity to choose life by sharing with them all their options,” Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, said in a statement. The laws are part of a wave of state legislation aimed at reducing access to abortion rather than banning it outright.

Alternative Medicine

USA – What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Nearly 40{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of adults report using Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM), often combining them with mainstream medical treatment. This is called “integrative medicine.” Alternative medicine changes constantly as treatments undergo testing. They’re classified by the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) as follows; whole medical systems, mind-body medicine, biologically based practices, manipulative and body-based practices and energy medicine but it’s possible that some therapies overlap. Some CAM practitioners make exaggerated claims about curing diseases, and some ask you to forgo treatment from your conventional doctor. For these reasons, many doctors are cautious about recommending these therapies. It is also often too expensive to do comprehensive studies on these treatments.…ternative-medicine/art-20045267

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Belgium – Many patients euthanized for psychiatric reasons

At least 50 patients are euthanized each year for purely psychiatric reasons, according to the leading figure in Belgian euthanasia, Dr Wim Distelmans. This is a small group – 50 to 60 patients – but it is not a negligible number: 2 to 3 percent of the 1,924 people who were euthanized last year. They feel that they are no longer comfortable in this world: They are in their 20s or 30s; they have been followed medically since they were children; they have a history of institutionalization. Their parents were originally radically against euthanasia, but eventually they agreed with it because nothing more could be done. Traditionally euthanasia was not used for psychiatric reasons, just another example of the slippery slope in Belgium.

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No news today

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Canada – Leading psychiatrist slams homosexual therapy ban

A highly-respected psychotherapist says the Ontario New Democrats’ bill banning treatment of unwanted same-sex attractions for teenagers is “very ill-advised.” Dr. Joseph Berger, the past president of the Ontario district of the American Psychiatric Association, former assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and for 27 years an examiner of prospective psychiatrists, said that such therapy was “often successful” and that he had helped several clients with homosexual feelings to live productive, heterosexual lives. But “no competent therapist,” he added, would attempt to treat a teenager or adult who did not want to change his or her sexual orientation. He had been successful with several clients himself. “One of them is now a grandfather”, he said.

USA – An honest letter by a woman who was raised by lesbians

Heather Barwick:Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for same-sex marriages. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. And it’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary.

USA – Fox, CNN and MSNBC Agree: ‘We’re for homosexual Rights’

The “Code of Ethics” of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) says that the media should “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.” But on the issue of homosexual rights, the media, from the left to the right, have taken a side. This includes the Fox News Channel, which many conservatives had hoped would stay true to its word of being “Fair & Balanced,” on the issue of homosexual rights. The Fox News Channel is joining CBS News and CNN as “silver” sponsors of the upcoming National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) 20th annual New York “Headlines & Headliners” fundraising event. Gold sponsors include ABC News and Comcast Universal, owner of NBC and MSNBC.

France – Keep ban on homosexuals giving blood

France’s National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) has advised the government to maintain its current ban on homosexuals giving blood. The committee said in a statement that further research was needed before considering lifting the ban, adding that changing the law now “could expose people to medical risks which should be taken into consideration from an ethical point of view”. “Giving blood is not a right. What matters most is the health and the protection of the receiver,” said Jean-Claude Ameisen, president of the CCNE.

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IVF &Surrogacy

USA – Acupuncture and Chinese medicine in IVF

USA is seeing a growing trend to incorporate acupuncture and Chinese medicine into IVF. Studies show acupuncture before embryo transfer may increase pregnancy rate. In one study of more than 1,400 cycles, 3 acupuncture sessions before and after embryo transfer improved the fertilization rate, especially in women over 35 who used fresh embryo transfer and in women 35 – 39 who used frozen embryo transfer. Another study of 258 women showed that needle acupuncture boosted the pregnancy rate by 10{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}. Another study showed among 83 women, who either got or didn’t get acupuncture, that the technique made no difference in whether they got pregnant.

India – New rules for foreign nationals visiting India for surrogacy Only couples who have been married for at least two years will be allowed to visit India for the purpose of surrogacy. The appropriate visa category for foreign nationals coming to India for surrogacy will be ‘medical visa’. This is to ensure in such cases that the surrogate mother is not cheated. A letter from the embassy of the foreign country in India or the foreign ministry of the country should be enclosed with the visa application stating clearly that the country recognises surrogacy and the child to be born to the couple through the Indian surrogate mother will be permitted entry into their country as a biological child. An agreement between the couple and surrogate involved shall also be required. USA – Infertile Couples may Have Kids from IVF New research shows that infertile couples may finally be able to have children through IVF after scientists achieved a key breakthrough in making sperm and eggs from skin cells, by converting them into the “primordial germ cells” normally found within the testes and ovaries. These develop into mature sperm and eggs. This could also lead to a better understanding of the “epigenetic” changes within human cells that contribute to ageing and cancer because of the insights it will give scientists about how adult human skin cells can be reprogrammed into sperm and eggs. This was the first step in demonstrating that scientists could make primordial germ cells without putting them into patients to verify they were genuine.

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Medical Ethics

UK – Woman wins right to refuse life-saving amputation A dramatic example of informed consent in medicine comes from Britain. A 62-year-old woman who has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for most of her life has refused to allow doctors to amputate a gangrenous leg. Despite her psychological disability, the woman was living a reasonably independent life and held down a responsible job. Mr Justice Peter Jackson said “Anyone capable of making decisions has an absolute right to accept or refuse medical treatment, regardless of the wisdom or consequences of the decision. The decision does not have to be justified to anyone. In the absence of consent, any invasion of the body will be a criminal assault. The fact that the intervention is well-meaning or therapeutic makes no difference. USA – The bioethics of Googling Is it ethical to Google your patients? A recent article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine examines this question, with Penn State College of Medicine researchers contending that professional medical societies must update or amend their Internet guidelines to address the ethics behind it. “Many physicians would agree that seeking information about their patients via Google seems to be an invasion of privacy, violating trust between patients and their healthcare providers,” explain the researchers. “However, it may be viewed as ethically valid, and even warranted under certain circumstances.” The researchers label the lack of current guidelines the “google blind-spot”, and suggest that medical associations have an ethical imperative to address the issue. France – Parliament divided over deep sleep bill France’s parliament is debating a ‘deep sleep’ bill which will give patients with ‘hours or days to live’ the right to be placed under general unaesthetic until the moment they die. Sedation would be titrated so there would be no chance of the patient regaining consciousness. Pro-life groups have criticised the proposed legislation, claiming it authorizes a passive form of euthanasia. In an open letter published in Le Monde, leaders from Christianity, Islam and Judaism, described the bill a threat to human dignity “We are launching a joint appeal, anxious and pressing, that this possible new law will not in any way violate this basic principle: all human life must be respected particularly at the moment when most fragile”.

USA – New genetic editing technology raises ethical questions

A group of leading biologists have called for a halt to the use of a powerful new gene editing technique. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) is the name for a natural defense system bacteria use to fend off harmful infections by recognizing specific patterns of DNA from foreign invaders, and decapitating them. Research groups led by Dr Zhang of Massachusetts of Institute of Technology and Dr Church of Harvard University have successfully modified this basic mechanism and turned it into a powerful tool that can cut human genomic DNA at any desired location. However, due to the fear of unforeseen disastrous outcomes prominent scientists in the field have recently called for ethical guidelines for doing such modifications.

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No news today

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UK – Studies show young people wish they were better informed about sex

Researchers investigating how young people learn about sex found a gap between the type of sex education young people want and what they receive. Many young people want to receive more information about sex and relationships from their parents, according to researchers. Two studies, published in BMJ Open, utilized data from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3). In particular, they reported wanting more information on “sexual feelings, emotions and relationships,” in addition to STIs. The fact that many young people told us they wanted to get more information from a parent shows that parents also have an important role to play. A study published earlier this year demonstrated the risks of obtaining information through “other sources”.

Denmark – Porn belongs in the classroom, or does it?

Leading sexologist Prof Christian Graugaard, has called for pornography to be shown in the classroom, claiming that starting a debate about the industry could help teenagers become conscientious and critical consumers who are able to tell the difference between pornography and the reality of sexual relationships. Graugaard’s proposal is not simply following in the long tradition of sexually permissive Scandinavia. It is, he insists, a sensible way of teaching teenagers that pornography is nothing like real sex. His proposal is to critically discuss pornography with 8th and 9th graders as part of a sensible didactic strategy, carried out by trained teachers.

New Zealand – New sexual integrity sex education for schools

A unique, realistic new sex education programme for schools that deals explicitly with developing positive, ‘whole person’ sexuality while addressing issues such as pornography, consent, rape and teen pregnancy will be introduced to New Zealand by its Australian author, sexologist Liz Walker. According to Ms Walker these programs were developed to create awareness with young people that “sexual integrity is the foundation of meaningful and authentic connections. It empowers young people to gain the necessary foundational skills to develop healthy, respectful and equal relationships.”

USA – Connection with Sex Trafficking and pornography The supply for sex trafficking is fuelled by the demand for pornography.¹ In 2011, a couple from Missouri was charged with forcing a girl who was mentally handicapped to produce porn. To get her to comply, they beat, whipped, suffocated, electrocuted, drowned, mutilated, and choked her. One of the photos of the young woman ended up being used on the cover of a major porn publication. In that same year, two Miami men were charged with spending five years luring women, through advertising modeling roles, into a human trafficking trap. When women showed up, the two men drugged, kidnapped, raped, and videotaped their acts of violence and then sold these videos to pornography stores and businesses throughout the country.

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Prostitution & Trafficking

Ireland – Testimony of a former prostitute A survivor of prostitution describes being repeatedly raped, of being urinated on having objects inserted inside her, and how in the end prostitution brought her to her “knees”. Mia de Faoite, told how she got drawn into prostitution on Dublin’s Burlington Road, to pay for heroin, from 2005 to 2010. “In prostitution a woman ceases to be seen as a human being in the eyes of others and becomes a trapped mind that lives in a body that no longer belongs to her. I looked at the man on top of me. I looked straight into his eyes. I thought, ‘You can’t see me, can’t hear me’…He looked straight through me.” She exited with the help of a social worker. UK- Human traffickers may face life sentence under slavery bill This new law aims to protect those at risk of being enslaved. Before traffickers were sentenced 14 years but this law concerns not enough being done to stop slavery. This momentous piece of law, which has been shaped and reformed and improved so much by all parts of Britain gives protection to the victims who need it and ensures that the perpetrators cannot practice their crimes anymore. The Home Affairs Office estimates there were up to 13,000 victims of slavery in Britain in 2013, most of them from Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam and Romania.

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Stem Cells & Cloning

No news today

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Substance Abuse

USA – Saturation of methadone/suboxone centers increases crime In 2014, the Central Baltimore Partnership put together a task force to study the high concentration of opioid centers and other social services providers in the north central area of the city of Baltimore.  In their findings, Robert Mara, representative of the Harwood Community Association, testified that in the Old Goucher section of the Charles Village area, where they have two methadone and one suboxone clinic, crime was almost five times the rate of 3 other sectors that did not have these opioid dispensaries. Only 20{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of those arrestees lived within that area. Less than 18{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of patients seeking treatment actually live in that area. What’s more, only 20{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of those arrestees lived within that sector. USA – Marijuana Extract CBD for Children With Epilepsy Is Questioned A dozen states in the past year, have legalized the substance cannabidiol, or CBD (a cannabis extract), despite a lack of hard evidence of its effectiveness in controlling seizures. While being hailed as a ‘wonder drug’ by some, research results show that some children after taking CBD, didn’t respond or even worsened. “We don’t have enough data at this point to recommend marijuana products for families,” said Kevin Chapman, a neurologist and co-author of a study. “We have clear and well-established mechanisms to determine if therapies are safe and effective,” said Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal, president of the American Epilepsy Society. “To have legislatures bypass that process before they have that information poses risks to people who choose to use that therapy.” USA – Man shoots himself after eating marijuana candies The family of a Tulsa man who shot himself in Keystone, Colorado is blaming his suicide on his ingestion of edible marijuana candies. “It was completely a reaction to the drugs,” Kim Goodman said about her son Luke’s suicide. Caleb Fowler said his cousin became “jittery” then incoherent and talking nonsensically after taking them. Fowler says Goodman became “pretty weird and relatively incoherent after taking 5 times the recommended dose. It was almost like something else was speaking through him.” He then shot himself. Luke Goodman’s death is now the third death in Colorado linked to marijuana edibles. Scotland – Methadone programme ‘is a black hole’, says drug expert Referring to the methadone programme in Scotland, Dr Neil McKeganey, from the Centre for Drug Misuse Research, said “it is literally a black hole into which people are disappearing” and its “out of control” Data obtained by BBC Scotland showed pharmacists were paid £17.8m for handling nearly half a million prescriptions of methadone in 2014. Figures released by the NHS in 2012 revealed that methadone-implicated deaths increased dramatically in cases where the individual had been prescribed the drug for more than a year. Recent figures from the National Records of Scotland also reveal methadone was implicated in nearly the same number of deaths as heroin in 2013.

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