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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 20 July 2001

20 July 2001

20 July 2001 A group of doctors and lawyers in Britain have criticised the General Medical Council for restricting access to a conference today on the withdrawal of food and fluid from patients. The group also describes the council's draft guidance on withdrawal of food and fluid as apparently legally flawed because it: "assumes certain propositions to be law when they are at best controversial." The group asserts that the guidance might inadvertently allow medical staff to stop giving fluid to patients in order to cause their death, yet this is unlawful. The group includes Professor Peter Millard, past president of the British Geriatric Society, Professor John Henry, a professor of accident and emergency medicine, Dr John McLean, a former senior lecturer in anatomy and embryology, Mr James Bogle, a barrister, and Mr Bruno Quintavalle, also a barrister and leader of the ProLife Alliance. [media release, 20 July] British Labour MPs have defied their party leadership by opposing the election of a pro-life Conservative to a parliamentary committee on international development. Mr Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough and a Catholic, was questioned for half an hour on his views on abortion, contraception and poverty. [The Guardian, 19 July ] The leader of Republicans in the US senate has expressed opposition to public funding for research on human embryos. Senator Trent Lott, who had not previously expressed a distinct opinion, told reporters that he only favoured research on adult stem cells. [CNN, 17 July ] Dr Richard Doerflinger of the American bishops' conference told a senate sub-committee that federal funding for embryo research was: "illegal, immoral and unnecessary". [CNN, 18 July ] President Bush said yesterday that he would take his time in considering the issue, denying that politics would be involved in his decision. [CBS, 19 July ] Colombia's Catholic bishops have threatened medical staff and judges involved in abortion with excommunication. The bishops are also seeking to overturn a supreme court ruling which allowed abortion in the case of rape. [LifeSite 19 July ] Chemical abortion pills are being advertised in American magazines. The National Abortion Federation is said to be spending $2 million on advertisements for mifepristone (RU 486) in Vanity Fair and several other publications. The National Right to Life Committee has accused those behind the campaign of trying to make abortion seem part of everyday life. [CNN, 19 July ]

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