UN Still Divided on US-Backed Ban on All Forms of Human Cloning
Despite pressure from the United States, the United Nations has delayed a vote on a proposal to ban all forms of human cloning, including stem cell and other therapeutic cloning research that scientists believe has the potential to treat serious illnesses such as cancer and spinal cord injuries. Belgium has offered a proposal that has been cosponsored by 20 countries, including Britain, that bans reproductive cloning but allows nations to decide for themselves whether to ban therapeutic cloning, place a moratorium on such research, or regulate it through national legislation, reports the Washington Post.
The United States continues to be a strong supporter of Costa Rica’s proposal to outlaw all forms of human cloning, which they define as “unethical, morally reproachable and contrary to due respect for the human person,” according to the New York Times. Susan Moore, a United States special advisor, stated that “a ban that differentiates between human reproductive and experimental cloning would essentially authorize the creation of a human embryo for the purpose of destroying it, thus elevating the value of research and experimentation about that of a human life,” the Times reports.
According to Kaisernetwork, Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, sees the delay in the UN vote as a victory for advocates of stem cell research and as a sign of a “definite erosion of the US plan to ban” cloning for research purposes.
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. . . .