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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 5 February 2003

5 February 2003

5 February 2003 A nursing magazine has claimed that most nurses think the law against assisting suicide "should possibly be changed" on the basis of a web-site survey. However, there is no suggestion that the web-site selected respondents or restricted responses to nurses, and the survey appears to have been conducted in the wake of well-publicised reports of fears of prosecution by the wife of suicide Reginald Crew. [Nursing Times, 5 February ] The report was slated by SPUC, who pointed out that it was misleading to represent such a straw poll as a valid survey of opinion in the profession and irresponsible to suggest that the protection of the law against assisting suicide should be changed. A candidate for the post of governor of Edo State in Nigeria has vowed to 'wage war on abortion and all forms of destruction of life' if he wins the election [in April]. Senator Rowland Owie of the All Nigerian People's Party plans to establish 'Homes of Innocence' in each of the state's three senatorial districts where young girls facing unwanted pregnancies would be given help to have their babies and go back into education or training. He said: "Our government will be opposed to abortion; nobody has the right to take life." [This Day, Lagos, 4 February; via allAfrica.com ] Pope John Paul II has said that society must protect the weak and respect the inviolable dignity of human life. In his message for the 11th World Day of the Sick in Washington DC next week, the Pope warned that "a model of society appears to be emerging in which the powerful predominate, setting aside and even eliminating the powerless" through abortion and euthanasia. Noting that it remained "a fundamental precept that life is to be protected and defended, from its conception to its natural end", the Pope rejected procedures or experiments which failed to respect this precept, and affirmed that "it will never be permissible to resort to actions or omissions which by their nature or in the intention of the person acting are designed to bring about death". [Zenit, 4 February ] A political party for elderly people which plans to contest the Scottish parliamentary elections in May has an official policy in favour of the "right to die". The Pensioners Party of Scotland believes that pensioners should be given the right to die with dignity, and to "choose, within the law, when and where death should take place". [Evening News, 4 February] The United Nations population division has revised downwards its prediction of the worldwide fertility rate in 2050 to below replacement level. The UN's biannual report on international population trends for 2000 predicted that the average fertility rate in 2050 would be 2.1, but the report for 2002, which is due to be published shortly, predicts that the rate will have fallen to 1.85 - just above the current average in Western countries. By 2075, the world's population could have shrunk by half a billion. [Sunday Times, 2 February] The overpopulation myth is used to justify coercive population control policies and the continued existence of the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Each year, tens of millions of unborn children are killed by abortion around the world. A South African pro-lifer has pointed out that the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act 1996, which came into effect six years ago [see yesterday's digest ], provides for abortion on demand for women and girls of all ages and not just those over 16. The law states that pregnant minors (those under 18) must be advised by a medic to consult with parents, a guardian, family members or friends before an abortion goes ahead, but that an abortion must not be denied if the minor chooses not to consult them. Furthermore, a quarter of all abortions in South Africa are performed after the 12th week of pregnancy, despite technically tighter grounds for abortions beyond the first trimester. [SPUC, 5 February; thanks to Margrit Sokolic, secretary of Pro-Life in South Africa]

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