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News, 24 November 2003

24 November 2003

24 November 2003 The House of Lords Liaison Committee has recommended the setting up of a select committee to consider assisted dying, ten years after the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics rejected possible legalisation. Lord Joffe, whose patient (assisted dying) bill was the subject of preliminary parliamentary debate in June, claimed that public opinion had swung in favour of assisted suicide in the wake of the Diane Pretty case last year. [BMJ, 22 November] The US-based pro-abortion Catholics For a Free Choice have issued a press release attempting to rehabilitate UNFPA after a damning US government investigation last year. The US investigation last May found that coercive abortion was being carried out in regions of China where UNFPA operated and that UNFPA's "support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning allows the government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion." [c-fam, 21 November , CFFC, 19 November] Doug Silva of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, C-Fam, commented: "The desire of the international abortion movement to whitewash the Chinese one child policy as well as the UN agency complicity for over twenty years in the policy, shows just how radical these people are. It is deliberately misleading to talk of "progress" in China while the one child policy remains the enforced law of the land." [SPUC source] A Gallup poll has revealed that teenagers in the US are more pro-life than their parents, LifeSite reports. 72% believe that abortion is morally wrong and 32% believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, compared with only 17% of adults. [LifeSite, 20 November ] The death toll from the 1974 Dublin bombings has been increased from 26 to 27 to recognise the death of an unborn child under Article 40 of the Irish Constitution. Colette Doherty was in the late stages of pregnancy when she and her unborn child were killed along with 25 other people. [Breakingnews, 23 November ] Prosecutors in Zurich are investigating the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland over the deaths of three foreigners, a Frenchman suffering from Alzheimer's and a British couple who were not terminally ill. Prosecutor Andreas Brunner said that it was unclear whether the man suffering from Alzheimer's was capable of making an informed decision to die. A doctor who works closely with Dignitas faces possible prosecution over the double suicide of French twins suffering from schizophrenia. [The Observer, 23 November ] The Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, gave his 'full backing' to the curate who is currently seeking legal action over the late abortion of a baby with cleft palate. During a visit to the Cambridge college where Joanna Jepson was studying, archbishop Williams expressed his support for her actions. [The Telegraph, 23 November ] A judge in Lagos has argued that the Nigerian National Assembly should investigate allowing euthanasia for a patient who is suffering 'living death' and is 'a liability to her family who were to give her comfort and care.' Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie responded to the proposal, stating: "Euthanasia is wrong in its totality, because the fact that a person is about to die of natural causes does not justify a human decision to attack human life." [Bioedge, 21 November ] Pregnant women who eat large amounts of sugary or highly processed food such as breakfast cereals, white rice and chocolate biscuits could be increasing the risk of their babies developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida, according to new research. The study was reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. [Daily Mail, 24 November] A Human Life International activist has been arrested in London for showing posters of aborted babies. No charges have yet been made against Kevin O'Niel, whose arrest on Threadneedle Street was photographed. Police have, however, threatened action if the photographs are publicised. [HLI, 21 November] Schools in Torbay, UK are delaying a scheme to distribute the morning after pill because of 'adverse publicity.' The planned scheme is part of a government teenage pregnancy strategy to halve the number of teenage pregnancies, funded by a £85,000 grant. A spokesman for the Primary Care Trust said: "Our position is that we do not want to pressurise the schools. The final decision rest with each individual school and we have to let them make whatever decision they feel is right, in their own time." [Herald Express, 21 November ]

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