After seven months of debate, the President’s Bioethics Council released a report today announcing that the 18-member panel was unable to reach consensus on the highly contentious cloning issue. This indecision reflects a similar split in the Senate that has stalled legislation banning cloning in Congress. While views differ on cloning research for therapeutic purposes, both bodies have expressed overwhelming opposition to cloning for reproductive purposes.
The panel’s majority – which includes 10 of the 18 members – approved a four-year moratorium on cloning research in the hopes that the extra time would help make their case for a complete ban of cloning. Meanwhile, the panel’s minority stated that it is imperative for research to continue. A senior administration official characterized the report as “consistent with the president’s core view, which is that all human cloning is wrong and should not be authorized,” according to the New York Times.
The panel, led by Leon R. Kass a bioethics professor at the University of Chicago, was established to determine whether scientists should be permitted to clone human embryos for research. The Feminist Majority, along with other advocates, believes that cloning research should continue unheeded because cloned embryos are the ideal source of stem cells, which are used for researching new treatments and cures for many diseases.
Media Resources: New York Times 7/11/02; Washington Post 7/11/02
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .