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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 19 January 2001

19 January 2001

19 January 2001 British police have exhumed the body of a woman whom they suspect was killed by her son in a case of euthanasia. Mr Jon Elliott claimed during a BBC Radio Sheffield phone-in debate on euthanasia that he had administered a lethal dose of liquid morphine to Elsie Elliott, his terminally ill mother. North Derbyshire police announced that a post mortem examination would be carried out on Mrs Elliott and that a file on the case would be submitted to the North Derbyshire coroner. [BBC News online, 18 January ] The Supreme Court of Canada ruled yesterday that Robert Latimer was rightly sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison for the second-degree murder of his 12-year-old daughter [see news digest for 15 January ]. A lower court had given Mr Latimer a shorter sentence because his daughter suffered from severe cerebral palsy and Mr Latimer claimed to have acted out of compassion. The Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously that the mandatory minimum sentence did not constitute "cruel and unusual punishment" but added that the Canadian minister of justice might consider exercising the royal prerogative of mercy to "grant him clemency from this sentence". [LifeSite Daily News, 18 January ] The funeral of Mary, the conjoined twin who was killed in the operation to separate her from Jodie, is to be laid to rest on the Maltese island of Gozo this afternoon. The twins' parents have returned home for the funeral, leaving Jodie at St Mary's hospital in Manchester, England. [BBC News online, 19 January ] The free provision of abortifacient morning-after pills from pharmacists in British Columbia, Canada, has been delayed due to monetary concerns. The British Columbia Pharmacy Association (BCPA) has insisted that the proposed amount payable to pharmacists by the government for consultations is too small. The government had proposed to pay pharmacists a consultation fee of 15 dollars, but the BCPA has said that pharmacies should accept no less than 25 dollars. At present, the whole consultation fee is payable by customers. [LifeSite Daily News, 18 January ] Pope John Paul II has warned that, given the ageing populations in many developed countries, "a culture, policy and social organisation favourable to life are urgent". Addressing local legislators in Rome, the Pope stressed the fundamental role of the family and said that "proposals and measures in favour of maternity and the protection of life from conception to its natural end deserve sincere support". [Zenit news agency, 18 January] Members of the United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women have urged Burundi to decriminalise abortion. The committee was considering a report presented by Romaine Ndorimana, Burundi's minister of social affairs and advancement of women. The report on the discussion states: "Experts also raised the issue of Burundi's prohibition of abortion, with several pointing out that the policy led to illegal abortions and the statistics showed that many women had died from secret abortions. The report indicated that the government was looking at the issue, but further information was required." [LifeSite Daily News, 18 January ; CEDW report, 17 January ] Ms Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, has pointed out that the pro-life comments of Rev Jesse Jackson reported in yesterday's news digest were in fact made in 1977. This fact was omitted from our source, which was dated 17 January 2001. Further investigation by SPUC has revealed that Jesse Jackson now appears to support abortion rights, and warned against the pro-life policies of George W Bush during the presidential election campaign last year [see Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 October 2000; Chicago Tribune, 1 November 2000].

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