LIFEalerts 13 September 2016

Abortion USA – Abortions Drop to Record Low in North Dakota UK – Marie Stopes suspends abortions in UK after safety inspections USA – Abortions Drop 37{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} in Memphis USA – Is Zika the cause of Microcephaly? Alternative Medicine USA – DEA will ban chemicals contained in Kratom Euthanasia Belgium – Gold medalist paralympian from Belgium seeks euthanasia USA – California grants assisted suicide to disabled, but not to prisoners Australia – New euthanasia lobby group launched in Australia Belgium – Euthanasia tourism on the rise in Belgium IVF& Surrogacy India – Government to ban all commercial surrogacy Medical Ethics USA – Have embryonic stem cells hit the wall? USA – More people donating their bodies to science USA – Legal heads-up on decapitation Switzerland – Bioethicists challenge right to conscientious objection Pedophilia Gambia/Tanzania – Governments ban child marriage Australia – Travel by Australian paedophiles must be blocked Sweden – Could this injection cure Paedophilia? Pornography Australia – Many high school girls victims of online ‘pornography ring’ UK – Pornography ‘desensitising young people’ USA – Ex-Playmate Pamela Anderson: ‘Porn Is for Losers’ Canada – Get religious to stay away from pornography Same SexAttraction Colombia – Thousands march in protest of homosexual school programs SexualExploitation South Africa –  A haven of sex slavery and child trafficking USA – Massachusetts Senate toughens anti human trafficking laws Substance Abuse USA – Legalized pot makes lower class poorer and less responsible South Africa – Dagga Activists Case Postponed USA – Increase in Number of Adults using Marijuana USA – Five States Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November


USA – Abortions Drop to Record Low in North Dakota North Dakota, like so many other states across the country who are seeing historic low abortion totals, have passed several pieces of pro-life legislation in recent years. The Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo performed 1,166 abortions last year, down from 1,264 in 2014, according to the state Department of Health.  Bishop John Thomas Fulda of Fargo said the downward trend is a testament to the hard and often difficult work of pregnancy centers, adoption agencies and maternity homes. UK – Marie Stopes suspends abortions in UK after safety inspections Marie Stopes International has suspended its surgical abortion operations across the United Kingdom after surprise inspections by government Care Quality Commission (CQC) officials found women could be at risk. It was unclear if staff had the competence or training to administer sedation and anesthesia. There were also “immediate concerns about issues of consent’. NHS England referred the 250 women scheduled for abortions at MSI to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), one of the country’s largest private abortion providers, and NHS hospitals. But the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has “condemned” the CQC’s “reaction to the dangerous and illegal abortion practices in private abortion clinics,” excoriating its position as “inadequate, immoral and unlawful collusion in criminal activity. USA – Abortions Drop 37{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} in Memphis Abortions dropped sharply by 36.6 percent from 2011 to 2014 in Shelby County.  In 2011, there were 4,595 abortions in the county, but by 2014, the numbers dropped to 2,914, according to a report from the Tennessee Department of Health. The ratio of abortions to live births also fell dramatically, from 326.4 per 1,000 in 2011 to 208.3 per 1,000 in 2014. The reasons for the decline are increased use of so-called long-acting reversible contraceptives, like implants and intrauterine devices as well as laws restricting abortion. Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said campaigns like the one that brings mobile ultrasounds to pregnant women so they can “see the humanity of their unborn child” have averted many abortions. USA – Is Zika the cause of Microcephaly? It is suspected that the Zika virus is linked to microcephaly. The US Centers for Disease Control and the New England Journal of Medicine both concluded the link is there. But a recent, expansive study has cast legitimate doubt on the Zika/microcephaly connection. The study looked at nearly 12,000 pregnant Colombian women infected with Zika. None had babies with microcephaly. So what is the culprit? Some scientists believe pesticides may be the source. Pyriproxyfen may also have a detrimental effect on developing unborn babies. These early findings aren’t conclusive, but they do open the distinct possibility that Zika may not be the only cause of the increase in microcephaly cases. Pro-abortion activists are not happy about this. <Back to Top>

Alternative Medicine

USA – Government to ban chemicals contained in Kratom The Drug Enforcement Administration has announced its intention to temporarily ban the chemicals contained in Kratom, a plant from Southeast Asia that activates some of the same receptors as opioids.  The DEA has announced plans to temporarily classify two of Kratom’s psychoactive chemicals as Schedule 1 — the same category in which heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy are listed. The Food and Drug Administration has been trying to crack down on the substance, banning its import and ordering seizures of illegally packaged Kratom product. Barbara Carreno DEA spokeswoman said that the Department of Health and Human Services needs to study the substance in question. A handful of states have banned it as well. <Back to Top>


Belgium – Gold medalist paralympian from Belgium seeks euthanasia The end-of-life wishes of a gold medalist at the Paralympics have again raised the question of what makes a Belgian eligible for euthanasia, Marieke Vervoort won silver in the 200 meters wheelchair sprint and gold in the 100 meter event. But she has told the media that she may request euthanasia after competing at Rio. Ms Vervoort has a degenerative disease which causes her great pain, but she can still compete at a high level in a range of sports, including basketball, swimming and triathlons’. USA – California grants assisted suicide to disabled, but not to prisoners Following the legalization of assisted suicide in California, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has proposed regulations that will prohibit prisoners from receiving “aid in dying”. Prisoners are to be provided with “healthcare appropriate and necessary to their situation”, and the regulations are said to “ensure the health, safety and security of inmates”. The End of Life Option Act states that Californian residents with a terminal illness and less than six months to live are eligible to receive assistance in dying. Australia – New euthanasia lobby group launched in Australia Influential Australian journalist Andrew Denton has launched a new campaign for assisted dying in Australia, and called on the Catholic Church to “stay out” of the euthanasia debate. Denton claimed that the failure to legalise euthanasia in the country was the result of a “subterranean” network of religious politicians and businessmen. Belgium – Euthanasia tourism on the rise in Belgium A rising number of “euthanasia tourists” are flocking to Belgium to end their lives, according to doctors in the country. Last year 2023 people were medically killed in Belgium, more than double the figure of five years earlier. Of these, many appear to be foreign nationals seeking assisted dying. “It’s a phenomenon that did not exist five or six years ago,” At the Brugmann University hospital, where Dr Vermylen works, 7 of 15 euthanasia cases last year involved French people. <Back to Top>


India – Government to ban all commercial surrogacy The Indian government plans to impose a complete ban on commercial surrogacy and to permit it only for legally married Indian couples. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 would ban unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexuals from engaging surrogate mothers. Nothing but altruistic surrogacy would be permitted. <Back to Top>

Medical Ethics

USA – Have embryonic stem cells hit the wall? “Will Embryonic Stem Cells Ever Cure Anything?” is a skeptical headline you might read in a conservative journal like the National Review or the Weekly Standard. However, it is bit surprising to find it in the MIT Technology Review, in a profile of Douglas Melton, a Harvard stem cell scientist. … ‘No field of biotechnology has promised more and delivered less in the way of treatments than embryonic stem cells. Only a handful of human studies have ever been carried out, without significant results. The cells, culled from IVF embryos, are capable of developing into any other tissue type in the body, and therefore promise an unlimited supply of replacement tissue. Sounds simple, but it hasn’t been.’ USA – More people donating their bodies to science The surge in bodies being donated for dissection has been a bonanza for medical schools anatomy and surgery classes. “Not long ago, it was taboo. Now we have thousands of registered donors,” said Mark Zavoyna, manager of Georgetown University’s body donation program. ScienceCare, “the world’s largest accredited whole body donation program” appeals to generosity and altruism but there are other factors like the cost of cremation and funerals and weakening religious objections to dissection and cremation. Bodies used by medical schools are cremated and returned to families, often at no expense. According to Time magazine, for the first time in the US, more people were cremated than buried in 2015. In 1980, fewer than 10{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of people chose cremation. USA – Legal heads-up on decapitation As a Chinese doctor plans the world’s first head transplant, renowned medical law expert professor Nita Farahany at Duke University said the operation – which the international medical community agrees has virtually no chance of success – would likely not even satisfy the legal criteria for consent if it were performed in the US. As Farahany observes, “a patient cannot consent to intentional or reckless homicide”. Alternately, is the right way to analyze a proposed head transplant as an assumable risk in surgery? We permit surgeons to operate on patients every day, even though they may die, and many do. Is this head transplant surgery just a very risky surgery to which a patient can, or should be able, to legally consent? Switzerland – Bioethicists challenge right to conscientious objection Over a dozen bioethicists at the Brocher Foundation signed a “Consensus Statement on Conscientious Objection in Healthcare” and said “healthcare practitioners’ primary obligations are towards their patients, not towards their own personal conscience”. Practitioners exempted from performing procedures on conscientious grounds should compensate society and the health system by providing public-benefitting services. Medical students should also not be exempted from learning how to perform basic medical procedures they consider to be morally wrong.” American bioethicist Wesley Smith was indignant. Writing in the National Review, Smith said: “Medical professionals are being pushed toward what I call ‘medical martyrdom;’ either be complicit in killing, commit what the professional considers a grievous sin, or suffer professional discipline, perhaps even loss of license.” <Back to Top>


Gambia/Tanzania – Governments ban child marriage Gambian President Yayha Jammeh announced that anyone marrying a girl under 18 would be jailed for up to 20 years. And in Tanzania, the high court imposed a landmark ruling outlawing marriage under the age of 18 for boys and girls. 30{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of underage girls are married in Gambia, while in Tanzania the rate is 37{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}, Before the Tanzania ruling, girls as young as 14 could marry with parental consent, while it was 18 for boys. Gambia’s President speaking at the end of Ramadan, said parents and imams who perform the ceremonies would also face prison. Australia – Travel by Australian paedophiles must be blocked A number of men convicted of sex crimes in Australia are largely free to pursue their vile crimes overseas. Data obtained by Fairfax Media reveals 753 Victorian registered sex offenders have tried to travel overseas or succeeded in doing so since 2011. Previous data indicate child-sex tourism hotspots in south-east Asia are popular destinations. In 2014, 250 Australian child-sex offenders went to the Philippines alone. Registered child-sex offenders in Australia must inform police of their travel plans so that the destination country is informed and local authorities can decide to allow, monitor, or resist their travel request. Senator Derryn Hinch used his address to the Melbourne Press Club last week to cancel passports of convicted paedophiles. Sweden – Could this injection cure Paedophilia? Dr Christoffer Rahm from the Karolinska Institute is investigating the cancer drug Degarelix to reduce sexual urges in potential abusers. Just one injection of the substance can reduce testosterone to undetectable levels within three days. Scientists want to see if the drug can help volunteers keep their sexual urges in check without causing unacceptable side effects. Unlike some other hormone treatments, the drug does not cause an initial “flare” that actually boosts levels of testosterone. The institute has launched a crowd-funding project to raise £38,000 for carry out further research into Degarelix. <Back to Top>


Australia – Many high school girls victims of online ‘pornography ring’ More than 2,000 graphic images of female students from over 70 schools have been shared by teen boys on a website. Young men use the group to nominate a high school or area they’re looking for nudes from, or full names of girls they are “hunting,” according to the Australian news organisation. The site also features “wanted” lists with members able to “contribute” by posting personal information about the young women including physical features, friendship circles, phone numbers and addresses. The Australian Federal Police are aware of the existence of a website which encourages users to upload images of a sexual nature and that they are working with taskforces in other states to determine an appropriate cause of action. UK – Pornography ‘desensitising young people’ About 53{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of 11- to 16-year-olds have seen explicit material online and (94{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}) had seen it by 14, a Middlesex University study found. The researchers questioned 1,001 children aged 11 to 16 and found 65{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of 15- to 16-year-olds reported seeing pornography, as did 28{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of 11- to 12-year-olds. Most of the boys saw it as a realistic depiction of sex. More than a third (39{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}) of the 13- to 14-year-olds and a fifth of the 11- to 12-year-olds boys saying they wanted to copy the behaviour they had seen. A 13-year-old boy related that one of his friends has started treating women like he sees on the videos. USA – Ex-Playmate Pamela Anderson: ‘Porn Is for Losers’ Former Playboy model Pamela Anderson has teamed up with a rabbi to speak out against pornography. An opinion piece by Anderson and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach published by the Wall Street Journal cites the latest sexting scandal involving former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner in calling for “an honest dialogue” about the dangers of pornography and “an honour code to tamp it down.” The essay calls pornography “a public hazard of unprecedented seriousness.” It closes by saying “porn is for losers” and calls it “a boring wasteful and dead-end outlet for people too lazy to reap the ample rewards of healthy sexuality.” Canada – Get religious to stay away from pornography Researchers have found that attending religious services can keep the youth away from the adult sites. According to Kyler Rasmussen, lead author of the study and a PhD student at University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada it was found that there is a barrier effect at play where religious social control encourages adolescents to view less pornography over time. This increase in pornography consumption as adolescents get older isn’t as drastic among those who attend religious services. We can see that religious attendance is a factor in shaping the habit of pornography viewing in adolescents, Rasmussen noted. The findings are based on a telephone survey of 3,290 teenagers and their parents. The study was published in the Journal of Adolescence. <Back to Top>

Same Sex Attraction

Colombia – Thousands march in protest of homosexual school programs Colombians joined in protest against a new initiative of the country’s homosexual Minister of Education, Gina Parody, on implementing homosexual and transsexual gender ideology programs in Colombian schools. In the past two weeks, the Constitutional Court has ruled twice that “transgender” students in two different schools must be allowed to wear clothing appropriate to the opposite sex. Parody’s plan for revising the student handbooks includes a pamphlet she designed in conjunction with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other UN agencies to instruct schools on how to induce students to “respect” and “value” transgenderism and homosexuality. <Back to Top>

Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – A haven of sex slavery and child trafficking Statistics reveal SA could have as many as 100 000 young girls working in underground sex dens as sex slaves. Lorraine Botha MP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Development said in a Press release “I will submit parliamentary questions to the Minister of Social Development in the Western Cape, Albert Fritz, to determine whether the Department has a programme which focuses on identifying and eradicating this practice and if there is any record of the number of sex slaves in the Western Cape. I will also ask whether the Department has a rehabilitation programme for the victims.’ USA – Massachusetts Senate toughens anti human trafficking laws Sen. Mark Montigny sponsor’s a Bill that strengthens the state’s antihuman trafficking laws. He says the measure will close legal loopholes that allow individuals to practice so-called “bodywork therapy” without having to meet the licensing requirements needed for massage therapy. The bill would also extend from three years to 10 years the time that victims can file civil suits against their traffickers. It would help law enforcement improve their data collection to better track human trafficking crimes. The New Bedford Democrat says the loophole allows human traffickers to maintain the facade of a legitimate business while operating in local communities. The bill would now require licenses for bodywork practitioners. <Back to Top>

Substance Abuse

USA – Legalized pot makes lower class poorer and less responsible A recent study by Steven Davenport of RAND and Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon notes that “despite the popular stereotype of marijuana users as well-off and well-educated; they lag behind national averages” on both income and schooling. People who have a household income of less than $20,000 a year comprise 19{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the population but make up 28{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of marijuana users. Even though those who earn more than $75,000 make up 33{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the population, 25{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of them are marijuana users. Having more education also seems to make it less likely that you are a user. College graduates make up 27{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the population but only 19{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of marijuana user. South Africa – Dagga Activists Case Postponed A full bench of the court postponed the case‚ brought by Gareth Prince‚ a Rastafarian‚ and Jeremy Acton‚ the leader of the Dagga Party of South Africa‚ until December 13. This is to allow government departments to respond to a criminologist’s report that was handed to court.{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}E2{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}80{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}98The-people-of-SA-need-dagga{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}E2{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}80{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}9A{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}E2{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}80{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}99-say-activists-as-legalisation-case-postponed USA – Increase in Number of Adults using Marijuana An increasing number of US adults are using marijuana, as fewer people perceive the drug as harmful, according to a survey of over 500000 US adults conducted between 2002 and 2014 published in The Lancet Psychiatry. As marijuana has become increasingly potent over the past decade, the authors say that the findings suggest the need for improved education and prevention messages regarding the risks of marijuana. The number of adults who first used marijuana increased from 823000 in 2002 to 1.4 million in 2014 and that the overall number of marijuana users increased from 21.9 to 31.9 million. The number of daily or near daily users was 8.4 million 2014, an increase from 3.9 million in 2002. USA – Five States Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will all vote in November on the legalization of marijuana. Given all the information available, the best estimate is that California is most likely to grant legalization, followed by Maine and Nevada. Arizona has taken the toughest stance against legalization, followed by Massachusetts.   <Back to Top>  

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