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News, 26 November 2003

26 November 2003

26 November 2003 SPUC has welcomed the absence of the draft mental incapacity bill from the Queen's speech today and announces a mass lobby of parliament on 27 April. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, welcomed the news. "We are deeply grateful to all those who made submissions and to the thousands who have telephoned their MPs in recent weeks to oppose the introduction of the bill," he said. "However, the danger of widespread euthanasia in Britain is still very real whilst the government's draft bill remains in the wings." SPUC's mass lobby of parliament will coincide with the 36th anniversary of the Abortion Act coming into force. [SPUC press release, 26 November ] The Irish prime minister has said that Noel Tracey the former Minister of State, was acting on behalf of the government when he agreed to EU plans to fund embryo research, RTE reports. Bertie Ahern answered criticism that he had bypassed parliament by stating that it was not a matter for parliament. A number of EU countries are expected to vote against proposals to permit funding for embryonic stem cell research. [RTE, 26 November ] A survey of 2700 nurses published in the Nursing Times has found that one third believe they should be allowed to practice assisted suicide, whilst two thirds believe assisted suicide should be legalised and one quarter said that they had already been asked by patients for assisted suicide. A spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing stated: "We don't think it's the right time for a change in the euthanasia laws. Some countries which do have laws, like Holland, seem to be having difficulties in how they are being managed." [LifeNews.com, 25 November ] 03 people have died by euthanasia in the first year of legalised euthanasia in Belgium, Expatica reports. According to the figures, Flemish patients requesting euthanasia outnumber French speakers eight to two. Pope John Paul II voiced concerns about euthanasia in Belgium during a visit to the Vatican by the bishops. [Expatica, 25 November ] Pro-life campaigners in Northern Ireland have condemned the decision by the Eastern Health Board to fund a clinic that will supply the morning after pill to teenagers. Betty Gibson, chairwoman of SPUC Northern Ireland commented: "The 'morning after' pill destroys unborn children and damages women's health. It is being marketed as a contraceptive when in fact it causes early abortion." [SPUC NI press release, 25 November]

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