Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Brazil: Supreme Court to Rule on Stem Cell Research

A legal challenge to a new law permitting stem cell research argues that it violates the right to life. 

See AP: Brazil Court to Rule on Stem Cells, by Stan Lehman:

Brazil's Supreme Court is set to decide if scientists in Latin America's largest country can conduct embryonic stem cell research, which many say can lead to cures for degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

The court's 11 justices are scheduled to rule Wednesday on a 2005 petition by then-Attorney General Claudio Fontelles, who argued that a new law allowing embryonic stem cell research was unconstitutional because it violates the right to life.

See also AP: Brazil's Church Lobbies on Stem Cells, by Marco Sibaja:

Brazilian church officials urged the Supreme Court on Friday to reject embryonic stem cell research in the world's largest Roman Catholic country, a week before the justices rule on banning such research.

The case stems from a 2005 motion by then-Attorney General Claudio Fontelles, who argued that a law passed that same year allowing embryonic stem cell research is unconstitutional because it violates the right to life.

The measure opened the way for research with embryos resulting from in-vitro fertilization and frozen for at least three years. Scientists study embryonic stem cells in hopes of developing cures to diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

H/T: Marcelo de Alcantara

March 5, 2008 in International, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Stem Cell Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Barbara Seaman, Women's Reproductive Health Advocate, Dies at 72

NY Times: Barbara Seaman, 72, Dies; Cited Risks of the Pill, by Margarlit Fox:

Barbara Seaman, a writer and patients’ rights advocate who was one of the first people to bring the issue of women’s reproductive health to wide public attention, died on Wednesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 72.

The cause was lung cancer, her family said.

Ms. Seaman’s first book, “The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill” (P. H. Wyden), was considered groundbreaking when it was published in 1969. It argued that oral contraceptives, which then contained high doses of estrogen, posed serious, possibly fatal, health risks, and that doctors routinely failed to inform women of those risks. Among the risks Ms. Seaman listed were heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, cancer and suicidal depression.

“The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill” was credited with inspiring a generation of women, who had long been discouraged by male doctors from asking too many questions, to take control of their health care. It was also credited with helping bring about Senate hearings in 1970, led by Gaylord Nelson, Democrat of Wisconsin, on the safety of oral contraceptives.

As a result of the hearings, birth control pills were required to carry a printed warning that discussed risks in general and clotting disorders in particular. These days, the pill contains far less estrogen than in the past.

Our Bodies Our Blog has a post remembering Seaman.

March 4, 2008 in Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

VA Senate Votes To Cut State Funding for Planned Parenthood

Washington Post: Senate's Vote Sets Tone on Abortion, by Tim Craig:

The Virginia Senate voted Wednesday to cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood of Virginia because it offers abortions, an action that could endanger hundreds of thousands of dollars in state aid for women's health-care programs.

The decision, a major setback for the Senate's new Democratic majority, marks the first time in more than a decade that the Senate has decided against giving state aid to the organization because of its abortion-related activities.

The GOP-controlled House has long pushed to cut off state aid for Planned Parenthood, but the moderate Republicans who controlled the Senate until this year fought off the effort.

March 1, 2008 in State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)