LIFE DIGEST: Brits may OK embryos as repair kits for other children, themselves; ...

WASHINGTON (BP)--British couples may soon be able to create embryos to use as body repair kits for their other children and themselves.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is slated to consider in July a plan to permit in vitro fertilization (IVF) not just for reproductive purposes but for the storage of human embryos that can be used to grow replacement body parts and organs or to treat diseases, according to the Daily Mail.

Under such a policy, parents could have stem cells harvested from their own children while they are in an embryonic state in order to help their born children and themselves medically, though it would come at the expense of those embryos. As a result, doctors could produce customized therapies for the parents and siblings of these embryos, the Daily Mail reported April 25.

Extracting stem cells from an embryo results in the destruction of the days-old human being.

Bioethics specialist Wesley Smith said "it is easy to predict" what HFEA will decide, since "this is Brave New Britain."

"This is figurative cannibalism, treating nascent human life as if it were a prize cattle herd or copper mine," Smith wrote on his weblog. "And it won't stop with embryos. Once the principle is accepted that living human beings can be objectified as a product, there is no way that enterprise will be limited to the earliest humans.... [F]etal farming is on the table and the already born weak and vulnerable are being looked upon by some as sources of organs and subjects for medical experimentation."

P.P. FUNDS RESTORED -- The supervisors of Orange County (Calif.) have voted to restore nearly $300,000 in funds to Planned Parenthood upon the advice of lawyers and in the face of possible legal fees.

The board's April 28 decision came about seven weeks after it voted unanimously to suspend a $291,788 contract with Planned Parenthood, which is the leading abortion provider nationwide.

The supervisors adopted a new policy that will make it more difficult for Planned Parenthood and other clinics to qualify for such a grant in the future, The Orange County Register reported. The rule bars tobacco settlement money, which is the source of the grant, from going to a health education program, which was the purpose of the designation for Planned Parenthood. It also prohibits such grants from being spent on abortions or services offered in the same facility in which abortions are done, according to the newspaper.

The affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the national organization, performed more than 305,000 abortions in 2007, the latest year for which statistics are available. Its revenue reached $1.04 billion for the 2007-08 financial year, with $349.6 million of that in government grants and contracts.

KANSAS OVERRIDE FAILS -- The Kansas Senate failed in an effort to override a veto of legislation that would have required greater accountability by late-term abortion doctors.

On May 7, the Senate voted 25-13 to overturn former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto, leaving it two votes short of the two-thirds majority required for an override. Sebelius vetoed the bill April 23, five days before she was confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services under President Obama.

The measure would have required doctors to provide the medical diagnoses they used as the bases for performing late-term abortions, according to The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal. The measure also would have permitted a civil lawsuit against a doctor if a woman or family member believes an abortion he performed was illegal. In addition, the legislation would have strengthened the state's ban on partial-birth abortion by limiting the exceptions to a threat to the life of the mother.

ABORTION BY GENDER OK IN SWEDEN -- Sex-selection abortion is legal in Sweden.

Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare has ruled that abortions for the purpose of eliminating a girl or boy after prenatal testing are legal and may not be refused by doctors under current law, according to Sveriges Television, The Local reported.

The Local, which provides Swedish news in English, reported in February that a woman in the southern part of the country had received abortions twice after being informed of the sex of her unborn child.


Tom Strode is Baptist Press Washington bureau chief.