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News, 11 July 2000

11 July 2000

11 July 2000 A prominent pro-life campaigner in the UK has lodged a complaint with the Charity Commission against Marie Stopes International, a major abortion provider, claiming that it has provided women with dishonest information. Mrs Victoria Gillick, a counsellor for the anti-abortion charity Life, said: "I would go so far as to say that without proper knowledge and understanding of their pregnancies, no woman attending the Marie Stopes clinics could be said to have given a legally valid consent to the termination of that pregnancy." She suggested that Marie Stopes deliberately misled their clients to encourage more women to pay the 400 pounds for an abortion. The manager of the Charity Commission's large charities unit said that a number of issues arose from the complaint and that the General Medical Council may well be consulted. [Catholic Herald, 7 July] Cardinal Thomas Winning, archbishop of Glasgow, has said that abortion has corrupted medicine. In an address to the Linacre Centre's conference at Queens' College, Cambridge, last week, the cardinal said: "No profession has been more deeply corrupted by the culture of death than the medical profession over the past century. And nothing has more deeply corrupted it than the practice of abortion and the attendant attitude that human life which is weak and vulnerable is disposable." He stressed the need for evangelisation leading to "conversions of hearts from which a culture of life is built". [Catholic Herald, 7 July] An amendment which would have barred the US Food and Drug Administration from testing, developing or approving drugs which induce abortions was defeated yesterday in the House of Representatives by 187 votes to 182. The House had approved similar measures in 1998 and 1999, although on both occasions the Senate refused to give its support. [Associated Press, Washington Post online, 10 July] A psychiatrist in the American state of Utah was convicted yesterday of killing five elderly patients by administering lethal doses of morphine. Robert Weitzel was found guilty on two counts of manslaughter and three counts of negligent homicide. His defence attorney had argued that the patients were terminally ill and that Dr Weitzel had simply been easing their pain as part of 'end of life care'. Euthanasia is illegal in Utah, and Dr Weitzel faces between two and 45 years in prison. [Associated Press, Star Tribune, 11 July] Jean-Marie Lorand, a leading campaigner for the decriminalisation of euthanasia in Belgium, arranged his own death last weekend. M Lorand, aged 51, had been suffering from a degenerative condition which had confined him to a wheelchair since the age of nine. He took a cocktail of drugs to stop his heart, and reportedly found a doctor through the internet to assist him . [The Times, 11 July] Russia's central statistical agency has disclosed that less than a third of recorded pregnancies resulted in a live birth last year. The country's plunging birth rate has been blamed on a crumbling pre-natal healthcare system and the use of abortion as a means of birth control. [The Times, 11 July] An 18-year-old woman accused of killing a toddler in the United States is claiming diminished responsibility on account of post-abortion syndrome. Tifany Myers had had an abortion two days before inflicting fatal head injuries on Joel Vasquez, aged 21 months, and her lawyers have argued that this triggered extreme depression. Her defence, if accepted by the jury, would rule out premeditation and mean that she could not be convicted of first-degree murder. The Elliot Institute, a post-abortion research organisation in Illinois, USA, has said that abortion can cause severe psychological injuries, although the American Psychological Association has yet to recognise this. [Des Moines Register, 7 July; from Pro-Life Infonet]

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