"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, February 18, 2002

With the first cloning of an animal, feminists (or more often, female chauvinists) were often heard to proclaim arrogantly, "men are no longer needed".

Now it seems women can be made redundant too.

Men redundant? Now we don't need women either

"Doctors are developing artificial wombs in which embryos can grow outside a woman's body. The work has been hailed as a breakthrough in treating the childless.

Scientists have created prototypes made out of cells extracted from women's bodies. Embryos successfully attached themselves to the walls of these laboratory wombs and began to grow...

'We hope to create complete artificial wombs using these techniques in a few years,' said Dr Hung-Ching Liu of Cornell University's Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility...

Artificial wombs could end many women's childbirth problems - but they also raise major ethical headaches...

said organiser Dr Scott Gelfand, of Oklahoma State University. 'Some feminists even say artificial wombs mean men could eliminate women from the planet and still perpetuate our species. That's a bit alarmist. Nevertheless, this subject clearly raises strong feelings.'...

Crucially, both believe artificial wombs capable of sustaining a child for nine months will become reality in a few years...

It also has serious ethical implications, as Gelfand pointed out. 'For a start, there is the issue of abortion. A woman is usually allowed to have one on the grounds she wants to get rid of something alien inside her own body.

'At present, this means killing the foetus. But if artificial wombs are developed, the foetus could be placed in one, and the woman told she has to look after it once it has developed into a child.'

In addition, if combined with cloning technology, artificial wombs raise the prospect that gay couples could give 'birth' to their own children. 'This would no doubt horrify right-wingers, while the implications for abortion law might well please them,' he added.

Gelfand also warned that artificial wombs could have unexpected consequences for working women and health insurance. 'They would mean that women would no longer need maternity leave - which employers could become increasingly reluctant to give.

'It may also turn out that artificial wombs provide safer environments than natural wombs which can be invaded by drugs and alcohol from a mother's body. Health insurance companies could actually insist that women opt for the artificial way.

'Certainly, this is going to raise a lot of tricky problems.'"

Most interesting.
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