Private genome research advancing

NEW YORK – A Maryland-based research organization has taken the next step in sequencing the human genome, in effect creating a blueprint for the human DNA molecule. The company, Celera Genomics Group, revealed in early April that its have gone to the next level in decoding the human life’s basic, but complex molecule. DNA research has generated tremendous debate on patents on human genome information. Celera is proceeding independently despite calls for international cooperation among science and business leaders to make human blueprint information available for the common good. Fully decoding the human genome sequence will revolutionize biology, genetics and traditional medicine.

Clinton vows partial-birth veto

WASHINGTON – The gruesome business of partial-birth abortion continues to divide Americans with the latest call in the House of Representatives to ban the procedure. The house voted in favour of a ban in early April, only to note U.S. President Bill Clinton’s ongoing threat to veto any law that would prohibit partial-birth abortion. The U.S. Constitution allows the House and the Senate to override a presidential veto, but to date such efforts have fallen short of the required votes. Clinton wants any ban on partial-birth abortion to include an exemption for the health of the pregnant mother. Given that these abortions are widely performed and have no bearing on maternal health, Clinton’s stand is seens as pandering to extreme pro-abortion elements.

Supreme Court tests partial-birth law

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a challenge to a Nebraska law prohibiting partial-birth abortion. Nebraska is one of 31 U.S. States that have outlawed the gory procedure in which a child passes part-way from its mother’s womb before its skull is punctured by surgical scissors. The procedure, which has added increased urgency to the abortion debate since 1995, will become an election issue for the 2000 campaign. The Nebraska decision should break a legal stalemate in the U.S. Lower court system. Partial-birth laws have been overturned in 19 of the 21 states. In other cases, however, lower courts have upheld partial-birth abortion. The Nebraska decision is being depicted as a battle between infanticide and the extension of previously established abortion rights.

Vermont approves same-sex marriage

MONTPELIER, Vermont – The state of Vermont has become the first to give full benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. The state’s House of Representatives passed the bill April 25. The bill, which grants full sanction of same-sex marriages, goes into effect July 1. It is believed the civil union bill will have a major impact on other U.S. States considering equal rights legislation for same-sex couples. The Vermont law survived an appeal to the state’s Supreme Court, as well as major opposition from traditional family and marriage advocates. Gay activists, meanwhile, celebrating the bill as significant victory in their battle for equality.

Legal ‘personhood’ sought for apes

A report on the Seattle Times reveals one more misplaced priority in the struggle to defend the rights of unborn children. A group of legal experts and academics has initiated the Great Ape Legal Project, in an effort to obtain legal personhood status for animals. An outgrowth of the burgeoning animal rights movement, the project’s backers say legal rights for animals would prevent abuse and mistreat of defenceless creatures. It would also end the legal understanding of animals are mere property. While some have criticized the effort as an absurd waste of time and resources, others suggest the possibility of humans filing lawsuits on behalf of animals. The project becomes even more ludicrous for pro-life supporters when considering the lack of personhood status afforded unborn children. In Canada for example, unborn children have no legal protection until they fully pass from the body of the mother.

Rape victim arrested for abortion

BLANTYRE, Malawi – A Malawi woman has been arrested for obtaining an abortion, despite the fact that her pregnancy resulted from rape. The 30-year-old woman was raped in January by two intruders. She faces a five-year prison term for her actions. National law in the African nation of Malawi permit abortion only under medical supervision, and if the pregnancy threatens the life or health of the mother. Meanwhile, the two rapists are still being sought by police.