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for Freedom of Scientific Research
Number 14, July 2010
- IVF in Poland, associations defy Church's prohibitionism with the support of the World Congress. Last June 30 the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning, member of ASTRA, a regional network of NGOs and individuals advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Central and Eastern Europe, held a press conference to express their strong opposition to the increasing interference of the Catholic Church in the process of establishing law in Poland, namely law on In Vitro Fertilization. An open letter by Luca Coscioni Association, including a detailed dossier on the effects of a similar law in Italy, was read on that occasion. The letter had been endorsed by several MEPs. Read the open letter by Luca Coscioni Association and the letter to authorities by the President of the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning (in Polish, English and Italian)
- Somatic cell nuclear transfer still to be studied, Harvard professor states. Daley, a professor in Harvard's inter-School Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB), concludes that "Stem cells generated by somatic cell nuclear transfer [SCNT] are, on average, closer to bona fide embryonic stem cells than are iPS cells. This has an important political message - we still need to study the mechanisms by which nuclear transfer reprograms cells, because the process seems to work more efficiently and faithfully. Learning the secrets of nuclear transfer may help us make better iPS cells". (To date, nuclear transfer has not been done successfully in humans). Read more.
- Transnational initiative to include maternal health at a G8 Summit. Luca Coscioni Association endorsed an open letter by the National Abortion Federation addressed to the Prime Minister of Canada after members of his cabinet had publicly stated that the government's maternal health strategy would not address unsafe abortions in developing countries or support access to family planning and contraceptives. "It is imperative that the work done in Canada build on - not backtrack from - previous commitments", wrote a hundred sign-on organizations, including the Nonviolent Radical Party, Hands Off Cain and No Peace Without Justice. Read the full letter.
- Country report on freedom of research: Québec (Canada). The country of the month is Québec, surveyed by the students of Bryant University, RI, USA. Last update: March 2009. According to the report there were no restrictions in Québec regarding stem cell research until restrictions were introduced in 2002, concerning the creation of embryos for research purposes only. Also, stem cells cannot be created through SCNT technique. Free and informed consent must be provided voluntarily and with full disclosure of all information relevant to the consent. As for end-of-life decisions, a patient has the right to refuse life sustaining treatment. Active euthanasia is, however, unlawful. Advanced directives are legal and enforceable. Abortion, contraceptives, and the 'morning-after pill' are all allowed within the province. RU486 is currently not available in all of Canada, although it may be retrieved in the US. The ‘morning-after pill' is offered with occasional partial coverage and without parental consent for minors. The reports is still incomplete in some fields. You can help monitoring freedom of research and cure in your country and in the world. Any contribution will be fully acknowledged. Read more.
News in brief:
- "African nations vow to support science. Policy-makers say that dependence on financial aid is hampering research, reports Linda Nordling", see Nature, Vol 465|24 June 2010
- Sign the Vienna Declaration. The criminalisation of illicit drug users is fuelling the HIV epidemic and has resulted in overwhelmingly negative health and social consequences. A full policy reorientation is needed. To review the full declaration, please click here
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