LIFEalerts 28 September 2016

Abortion Norway – Doctor fired for refusing to administer abortifacients UK – Are abortions for cleft palate rising? Poland – New Law Proposed to Ban All Abortions Alternative Medicine Australia – How Chinese medicine kills cancer cells Euthanasia Netherlands – The Dutch do it better IVF& Surrogacy Norway – What’s in the IVF Petri dish? Medical Ethics UK – Doctors worried about shift to online self-diagnosis USA – Debate over chimera embryos intensifies USA – Has Obamacare created a “transgender mandate”? Pedophilia Australia – Government seized 18 shipments of child sex dolls since 2013 Pornography Russia – Government bans online porn, and says “meet people in real life”

India – New weapon to tackle the spread of internet child pornography

Same SexAttraction

USA – Study: Sexual orientation is a biologically fixed property

Australia – Child Starts Sex Change before Kindergarten

USA – The Syndemic of AIDS among homosexual Men SexualExploitation South Africa – Government launches action plan on Human Trafficking USA – Asian nations step up human trafficking fight UK – Careers officers should suggest prostitution as a line of work Substance Abuse USA – Police change approach to opioid addicts USA – Cannabis Industry Expected to Be Worth $50 Billion by 2026 Japan – Gaining scientific proof of adverse effects of cannabis Canada – Government approves prescription heroin


Norway – Doctor fired for refusing to administer abortifacients

Katarzyna Jachimowicz, a Polish family physician working in Norway, became the first medical professional in the country fired because she exercised her conscience rights. Dr. Jachimowicz refused to surrender to government officials wanting her to abandon her sanctity of life standards. Instead, she is fighting for freedom and tolerance for family doctors. From the beginning, her objections were not only clear to her employer but also accepted. “Life begins at conception and I did not want to take part in destroying it,” she explained. In 2014, the legal situation worsened, with the nearly complete elimination of the conscience clause for family doctors.

UK – Are abortions for cleft palate rising?

Abortions for cleft palate, an easily-fixed facial deformity, have been rising in the United Kingdom according to latest official figures. In 2015, 11 were carried out compared to 4 in 2012. Campaigners point the finger at new pre-natal tests which allow doctors to inform pregnant women of the defect. MP Fiona Bruce, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said: “It is deeply disturbing if these figures reflect a worrying trend in society to disproportionately value the physically perfect and beautiful.” Reverend Joanna Jepson, who was born with a jaw deformity, said: “That this kind of discrimination is on the rise shows just how far we are from being the humane and tolerant society we claim to be.”

Poland – New Law Proposes Banning All Abortions

A new citizen-led bill which has wide support from the public and several leading government officials would prohibit all abortions except when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. The bill would criminalize abortion for causing the “death of a conceived child.” Doctors who do abortions and women who have them could face jail time of up to five years. A pro-abortion campaign called “Save Women” collected about 215,000 signatures for an opposing citizen-led bill that would legalize abortion on demand up until 12 weeks of pregnancy. In contrast, the pro-life bill has about 450,000 signatures.

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Alternative Medicine

Australia – How Chinese medicine kills cancer cells

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have shown in one of the first studies the molecular mode of action of a complex mixture of plant-based compounds, in this case extracts from the roots of two medicinal herbs, Kushen and Baituling. Professor David Adelson, Director of the Zhendong Australia said “We showed that the patterns of gene expression triggered by Compound Kushen Injection (CKI) affect the same pathways as western chemotherapy, but by acting on different genes in the same pathways, these genes regulate the cell cycle of division and death, and it seems that CKI alters the way the cell cycle is regulated to push cancer cells down the cell death pathway, therefore killing the cells.”{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}3A+sciencedaily{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}2Fhealth_medicine{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}2Falternative_medicine+{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}28Alternative+Medicine+News+–+ScienceDaily{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}29

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Netherlands – The Dutch do it better

Hot upon the heels of the news that the first reported case of euthanasia for a 17 year old took place recently in Belgium, comes the news from Holland that a “centre for euthanasia in children” is expected to open in that country within 12 months. Dutch Health Minister, Edith Schippers earmarked 400,000 Euros in May this year for a study on the matter. What is it they say about an inquiry? Never start one unless you know the answer beforehand?

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Norway – What’s in the IVF Petri dish?

With as many as one in 25 children being born through IVF in some countries, you would think that doctors understand the health risks perfectly. Not so. A clutch of papers in the leading journal Human Reproduction points out that the Petri dishes in which IVF embryos spend the first days of their lives are filled with mysterious fluids made up of unknown ingredients. And the composition of these laboratory cultures affects the birth weight of the resulting babies and possibly their long-term health.

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Medical Ethics

UK – Doctors worried about shift to online self-diagnosis

British company ADA Digital Health Ltd has released a sophisticated self-diagnosis app, while tech giant Google unveiled it’s new “symptom checker” search device. And on Wednesday UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that the NHS plans to introduce a new smart-phone diagnosis service. But some doctors are concerned about the new developments, and have warned about the danger of misdiagnosis and “cybercondria”. Maureen Baker, Chair of the UK’s Royal College of General Practitioners, said “…asking patients to use an online tool when they are ill in lieu of describing their symptoms to someone over the phone who is trained to ask the right questions, should be approached with extreme caution.” Psychologist Mary Aiken said ” The question is: Can Dr. Google abide by one of the main tenets of the Hippocratic Oath “First, do no harm.”

USA – Debate over chimera embryos intensifies

As the National Institutes of Health considers abandoning its ban on funding chimera experiments it will replace it with an “internal steering committee” to make funding decisions. Case Western Reserve University bioethicist Insoo Hyun argued that “Given the noble aims of this research, it is puzzling to some why the NIH is so nervous about providing federal funds to researchers with a track record of success in this area. But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called for the proposal to be set aside “The NIH proposal… [permits] the destruction of human embryos; it contemplates producing entities with partly or wholly human brains; and it allows for producing living entities who have human gametes.”

USA – Has Obamacare created a “transgender mandate”?

Obamacare has been challenged on ethical grounds for allegedly forcing doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children. Last year the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) interpreted the word “sex” in Obamacare to include gender identity. Now, say the plaintiffs in a case known as Franciscan Alliance, Inc., v. Burwell, doctors will be compelled to perform transgender surgeries on children and adults, even if doing so conflicts with a professional judgment that the procedure would be harmful or not in the patient’s best interests. The plaintiffs in Franciscan Alliance, Inc., v. Burwell are Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, joined by the states of Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

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Australia – Government seized 18 shipments of child sex dolls since 2013

The possession of the lifelike dolls is banned in the country but their Japanese designer, Shin Takagi claims he is an “artist” helping to prevent paedophiles from offending. He set up his company to help him fight his own sexual urges and channel his desires away from children. But experts have disputed whether dolls act as a deterrent and some warned that the dolls normalise the act. A petition was signed by over 60,000 people calling on the regional government to ban their sale. “The Border Force works closely with Australian Federal and state police agencies to target and seize the dolls at the border, and prosecute those that seek or possess them.”

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Russia – Government bans online porn

Russia has banned two of the world’s largest pornographic websites. Pornhub and YouPorn are two of the 11 sites which were officially banned after a decision was taken last year by authorities that such sites violate child protection laws. Such bans of websites are relatively commonplace in Russia, with Roskomnadzor (media regulator) operating a blacklist containing thousands of sites. PornHub meanwhile took to Twitter itself to request an “unban” of its services in exchange for granting Roskomnadzor a free premium account.

India – New weapon to tackle the spread of internet child pornography

Collaboration between a child protection initiative by the Mumbai-based NGO Prerana and the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is designed to enable citizens to report any sexually explicit images of children online. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 94 instances of child pornography were reported in 2015. The NGO’s “hotline” form is offered in Hindi and English and can be filled in anonymously online. When a website is reported for hosting child pornography, it is assessed by a team of experts from the IWF in the UK. This team will then work to take down the content and prevent any current or future copies of the images or video from being uploaded elsewhere.

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Same Sex Attraction

USA – Study: Sexual orientation is a biologically fixed property

A study by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, biostatistician and epidemiologist, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, distinguished service professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins University summarized 200 case studies integrating biological, psychological, and social data’ showing that sexual orientation is a biologically fixed property of human beings. The study shows further evidence that while “biological factors such as genes and hormones are associated with sexual behaviours and attractions, there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation. There is no neurobiological basis for gender identification that transgresses from biological sex. Only 0.6 percent adults identify as a gender not corresponding to their biological sex.

Australia – Child Starts Sex Change before Kindergarten

A 4-year-old child has begun the process of having a sex change even though the child hasn’t yet started kindergarten. The New South Wales Department of Education has revealed that the child is the youngest person in the country to be in the process of transitioning genders for eventual gender reassignment using funds from the department’s Safe School program. NSW deputy secretary of school operations Gregory Prior said that there are “a number of students who are going through gender transition in our schools. The education department did not disclose any personal details about the 4-year-old’s case. The gender transition is hoped to be complete by 2017

USA – The Syndemic of AIDS among homosexual Men

The Centres for Disease Control estimated that 36,138 men were newly infected with HIV. Of these, 30,635 (83{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}) were homosexual men or men who had sex with men (MSM). While new infections in other categories have been declining, MSM has been increasing. Co-occurring epidemics among MSM included: higher rates of psychoactive party drugs, sexual compulsivity and sexual addiction. The research on AIDS among MSM found: the connection among these epidemic health problems and HIV/AIDS is far more complex than a 1-to-1 relationship; the additive interplay of these health problems magnifies the vulnerability of a population to serious health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, psychological disorders, depression, suicidal ideation, STDs and substance abuse.

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Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – Government launches action plan on Human Trafficking

The National Plan of Action on Human Trafficking (NAPLAC) fights the crime following cases where Zimbabwean women were trafficked to Kuwait. Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the NAPLAC would run until 2018. ”The plan is anchored on four pillars – prosecution, prevention, protection and partnership. It is expected that the information on human trafficking will get to grassroots levels, protecting all our citizens, especially women and children, even in the remotest parts of our country.” Minister Mumbengegwi urged diplomats to be associated with the action plan.

USA – Asian nations step up human trafficking fight

The U.S. and several Asian countries are boosting their efforts to fight human trafficking and the exploitation of immigrants and refugees. President Obama and leaders of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have signed a new declaration to combat modern-day human slavery throughout the region. The program would reduce human trafficking practices in the global food supply chain, and support improved research and data collection to target international criminals engaged in human trafficking. It builds upon ongoing U.S. efforts in East Asia and China to protect vulnerable migrants at risk of human trafficking, including training initiatives for government officials to identify and assist these migrants.

UK – Careers officers should suggest prostitution as a line of work

School careers officers should suggest prostitution as a potential line of work. Dennis Parsons, the chairman of Cheltenham Liberal Democrats, floated the idea at a special session on sex work. The Lib Dem said careers officers are not allowed to suggest prostitution, but added: “Why shouldn’t they?” Lib Dem leader Tim Farron distanced himself from the remarks, but insisted he would not “slap down” the councilor for making them because people needed to be allowed to say “shocking things”. “Drawing the equivalence between sex work and accountancy is not one that I share.”

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Substance Abuse

USA – Police change approach to opioid addicts

In the wake of their opiate crisis Massachusetts police in Gloucester have made revolutionary changes in the way they handle drug users. The chief promised critical actions: Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment or drugs and asks for help will not be charged. Instead they will go through the system toward detox and recovery. Five weeks later, the chief reported 10 addicts in and 10 placed on the way to recovery with no judgment, as well as 20 parents’, countless siblings, friends, and loved ones’ lives changed. This is only the beginning, one life at a time.

USA – Cannabis Industry Expected to Be Worth $50 Billion by 2026

Legalizing recreational use in California, where the drug is already medically permitted, is on the ballot in November, and approval of that measure alone would triple the size of the nation’s current $6 billion legal industry, according to a report from 10 Cowen & Co. In all, voters in nine states will vote on marijuana related initiatives this November; five to legalize the drug for all adults and four to allow for medical use.

Japan – Gaining scientific proof of adverse effects of cannabis

Researchers have clarified important mechanisms involved in the formation of neural circuits in the brain. This group also discovered that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance also found in cannabis, causes disruption of neural circuits within the cortex. Research was done at Osaka University and published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The findings provide scientific evidence for the adverse effects of cannabis consumption on brain development and therefore may help to decrease abuse of marijuana

Canada – Government approves prescription heroin

Canadian doctors dealing with patients who have proved unable to stop taking heroin can now go ahead and prescribe them heroin. Justin Trudeau’s government has reinstated a policy that allows doctors to prescribe diacetylmorphine, pharmaceutical-grade heroin, to severely addicted patients if other methods of treatment fail. Giving addicts heroin clearly doesn’t cure their habits, experts say, but it prevents many overdose deaths and reduces both health care costs and crime.

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