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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 January 2002

2 January 2002

2 January 2002 Active euthanasia became legal in the Netherlands yesterday. The law to legalise euthanasia was passed by the Dutch parliament last April and it took effect yesterday (1 January). Pro-euthanasia organisations in the UK claim to have received dozens of enquiries from people wishing to take advantage of the Dutch law, although Walburg de Jong of the Dutch Euthanasia Organisation said that euthanasia was only available to Dutch residents who had developed a relationship with their family doctor. [BBC, 1 January ; Times, 2 January ] Only 12% of people in the Irish Republic support abortion "without restriction", according to an opinion poll commissioned by the Irish Independent. 28% of respondents would accept abortion in cases of incest, while 34% would accept abortion in cases of rape. The Irish Independent reported conflicting figures on what proportion thought a threat of suicide justified abortion. [Irish Independent, 31 December] Legislators in China have voted to codify the country's 21-year-old coercive population control policy. The law was adopted last Saturday at the 25th session of the standing committee of the National People's Congress. The policy limits urban families to one child, but allows rural families to have a second child if their first child is a girl. As a result of the policy, and widespread use of sex-selective abortion and female infanticide, there are now said to be 117 boys to every 100 girls in China. The policy also entails coerced abortion and widespread use of abortifacient chemicals and devices. [AFP, 30 December; via Pro-Life Infonet ] A law which came into effect in Illinois yesterday requires all hospitals to inform rape victims about so-called emergency contraception. Catholic hospitals will not have to provide the drugs but the law does seek to force Catholic hospitals to tell rape victims where to get them. [Chicago Sun-Times, 31 December ] A columnist in the Scotsman newspaper, who is a former Lord Provost of Glasgow, has lambasted Britain's abortion laws in his new year column. Mr Michael Kelly criticised the "cruel attitude" of women who have abortions when they find themselves "inconveniently pregnant", and questioned whether a society in which many women "are not prepared to make even the small sacrifice of allowing their child the chance of life" could call itself civilised. [The Scotsman, 1 January ]

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