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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 18 July 2003

18 July 2003

18 July 2003 No Less Human, the disability rights group, has condemned the short time allowed for giving evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the government's proposals to legalise euthanasia by neglect. The Joint Select Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill has called for evidence to be submitted no later than 1 September. Alison Davis, a spokeswoman for No Less Human, commented: "It is scandalous that such a controversial issue of public concern as euthanasia by the deliberate starvation, dehydration and neglect of disabled people is being rushed through and buried during the summer recess, when not only most parliamentarians but countless concerned individuals will be away on holiday from tomorrow. Thankfully today one MP from the government's benches has warned that 'an increasing number of disabled and sick people are frightened to be admitted to hospital because of the euthanasia campaign'." Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary, remarked: "If passed, the Bill will be the first comprehensive law in the world allowing euthanasia by neglect and may become a model for all common-law countries. Despite the disgraceful guillotine imposed on this inquiry, pro-life and disability-rights activists will launch a concerted campaign to fight the Bill tooth-and-nail". No Less Human is a division of SPUC. Information on the committee's enquiry can be obtained by emailing . Family planning groups and abortion advocates are calling for abortion to be legalised in Kenya, EWTN reports. A member of the parliamentary health committee, Cecil Mbarire, stated: "we need to decide to make it legal, to ensure our young girls are allowed to make a free choice on their reproductive health needs." [EWTN News, 15 July ] The first test tube babies will celebrate 25 years of IVF on 26 July, Reuters reports. Peter Brinsden, the medical director of Bourn Hall where about 6000 children have been born through IVF, dismissed negative media reports about IVF as 'vastly overblown' and spoke of his dream of seeing the success rate for IVF rise to 50%. [Reuters, 17 July ] A woman has been awarded £10,000 compensation in an out-of-court settlement after her medical practice accidentally gave her anti-depressants instead of the contraceptive pill. Sarah Cullaghan complained that after the error was discovered, the practice refused to give her a free pregnancy test and immediately offered her an abortion when she was still in a state of shock. "My husband and I did not want an abortion so there was never any doubt about whether we would go ahead with the pregnancy," she said. Mrs Callaghan gave birth to a baby boy called James in May 2001. [, 17 July , BBC, 18 July ] A study has been published in the British Medical Journal looking into the continuing gender discrepancy in India. It found that within the Delhi area there were only 869 females born per 1000 males. In spite of a ban on prenatal gender screening in 1994, baby girls continue to be aborted and infant girls are more likely to die from disease and unexplained causes. The study suggests that the higher rate of infant mortality among girls may be due to attitudes towards girls in India. [BMJ, 19 July ] Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe in the Roe v. Wade case, is to appeal a federal district court's decision not to hear her case to revisit Roe v. Wade. The judge dismissed McCorvey's submission of 5,437 pages of evidence in just two days and the case is now likely to end in the Supreme Court. [, 17 July ] The New England Journal of Medicine has pledged to aggressively seek out and publish embryonic stem cell research, so as to bolster its public image and counter the arguments of pro-life groups. "We thought it was important for the journal to go on record to say that we feel this is important research," said Dr Drazen, the editor-in-chief, "we wanted to make it clear that we are interested in publishing papers of this type." [The Boston Globe, 18 July ] The executive director of the US bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, has praised the decision by the House of Representatives to block funding to organisations involved or associated with forced abortion and sterilisation. Gail Quinn stated: "coerced abortion has been condemned throughout the international community as a crime against humanity, and as an act of violence against women. It is disappointing that almost half the members of the House were tempted to treat this human rights violation as something that can be ignored or finessed when pursuing business-as-usual with population control groups. In the end, however, the House took the right action, and we hope the Senate will do so as well." [Zenit, 17 July ] MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon has accused the Irish government of not doing enough to defend the Irish Constitution against the EU Commission's decision to allow funding for research on spare IVF embryos. The EU decision, she says, "flies in the face of democra

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