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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 28 May 2003

28 May 2003

28 May 2003 A Briton suffering from Motor Neurone Disease has died at the Swiss assisted suicide clinic run by Dignitas. John Close, 54, from Milton Keynes took an overdose of barbiturates in the presence of his sister and other family members. Dignitas is currently being investigated by the Swiss authorities who have expressed concern about the speed with which the suicide organisation has assisted in a number of recent cases. [BBC, 27 May ] A report disclosed last week revealed that nearly half of all euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands go unreported. The low percentage of reported euthanasia deaths was attributed to doctors who wished to avoid the administrative hassle involved and who were concerned that regulations might have been breached. The report also revealed that, besides the 3,800 voluntary euthanasia deaths recorded in 2001, a figure far higher than the official numbers, doctors also end the lives of approximately 900 people annually without the required request. Researchers surveyed 5600 doctors and interviewed 500 to compile their findings. [Expatica, 23 May ] The murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn child in California earlier this year has reopened the debate over the legal status of the unborn in US federal law. Though a double charge of homicide could not be brought against her husband, Scott, Senator Mike DeWine is now pressing for the adoption of an Unborn Victims of Violence Act. He said, "it is just plain wrong that our federal government does absolutely nothing to criminalise violent acts against unborn children." The bill also has the support of President Bush, whose spokesman, Ari Fleischer, stated "the president does believe that when an unborn child is injured or killed during the commission of a crime of violence the law should recognise what most people recognise, and that is that such a crime has two victims." The move has angered pro-abortion groups who claim that the Peterson case is being used to compromise the legality of abortion. However, opinion polls suggest that the bill has overwhelming public support and is likely to pass. [BBC, 28 May ]

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