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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 5 November 2003

5 November 2003

A Florida judge has appointed a university professor as Terri Schiavo's guardian, Yahoo News reports. Jay Wolfson is to report to Governor Bush on the value of testing Terri to see if rehabilitation is possible. However, if the law allowing the governor to intervene in the case is found to be unconstitutional, Professor Wolfson must abandon his work. [Yahoo News, 1 November]

The California Department of Health Services has launched an investigation into the death of Holly Patterson after a coroner confirmed that the RU-486 abortion pill was the cause of her death. Ms Patterson obtained the drug from a Planned Parenthood clinic and died a week later from a massive infection. [Yahoo News, 3 November]

A Canadian pharmacist has reached an agreement with her employer, after costly legal proceedings, that allows her to conscientiously object from dispensing abortifacient drugs and contraceptives. Maria Bizacki was suspended for a year after pro-abortion groups called for complaints to be made about her. The Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists has a conscience clause allowing pharmacists to opt out of dispensing products they consider morally objectionable, but pro-life pharmacists complain that these conscience clauses are often violated. [LifeSite, 4 November]

A study conducted by the University of London has found that teenage girls who dislike school are more likely to engage in underage sex and to regard pregnancy as a 'positive alternative' to education or a career. The teenage pregnancy rate for England is 42 conceptions per 1000 15-17-year-olds. [icWales, 5 November]

The professor of ethics at Loyola University's medical school has criticised Governor Jeb Bush for intervening in the Terri Schiavo case. Fr Kevin O'Rourke stated: "For Christians, it is a blasphemy to keep people alive as if you were doing them a favour, to keep people alive in that condition as if it benefits them. It doesn't benefit them." [The Miami Herald, 30 October] A spokesperson from the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute responded: "Fr O'Rourke's well known and increasingly bellicose support for the withdrawal of food and fluids from non-dying patients is based upon a deeply dualistic account of the human person. So, it is argued, when a person can no longer engage in spiritual acts then the body is as good as dead, and certainly better off dead. And if that is the case then why not refuse food and fluids which are not being artificially delivered. The truth is that dying by dehydration (as distinct from starvation) is an especially unpleasant way to die as so eminent a bioethicist as Fr O'Rourke must know." [SPUC source]

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