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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 17 October 2003

17 October 2003

17 October 2003 The Pope has emphasised bishops' duty to defend human life. In Pastores gregis, an apostolic exhortation published yesterday, John Paul II remarked on how the 2001 world episcopal synod had expressed anxiety at the widespread contempt for life and family. Christians needed to humanise medicine. [Holy See, 16 October ] The parents of Mrs Terri Schiavo, whose artificial feeding was stopped on Wednesday, have released a video showing her sitting up with her eyes open. It was claimed that she was in a so-called persistent vegetative state. Lawyers for Mrs Schiavo's husband had told Mr and Mrs Bob Schindler that, if they published the film, they would be stopped from visiting their daughter. The video shows Mrs Schiavo trying to talk to her mother and showing exasperation that she could not do so. The Schindlers have offered Mr Schiavo money in exchange for letting their daughter live. [, 15 October ] Governor Jeb Bush of Florida could intervene in Mrs Schiavo's case, according to letters sent to him by a lawyer at the Thomas More law center, Michigan. Mr Richard Thompson urges Mr Bush, the president's brother, to start a criminal investigation during which Mrs Schiavo would be protected from further harm. Mr Thompson helped prosecute Dr Jack Kevorkian, the euthanasia advocate who was convicted of murder. [, 16 October ] England's highest court has reduced the amount of compensation to be paid to a woman who was unsuccessfully sterilised, partly because she had the option to abort her son. Lord Scott, speaking for his House of Lords colleagues, said that Ms Karina Rees would not have incurred child-rearing expenses if she had had the boy, now six, adopted or aborted. Mrs Nuala Scarisbrick of Life described the judge's suggestion that the child was disposable as sickening. Ms Rees's £1 million compensation against a health trust in north-east England was cut to £15,000. [BBC and This is the North East, 16 October] Many British medics are untrained in treating patients' chronic pain, according to an Edinburgh university survey of nearly 250 UK staff . One third of respondents said they had received no education in the subject. Researchers have called for the study of pain to be made a core part of training. [Scotsman, 16 October ] Failure to treat pain can cause patients, relatives and medical staff to consider euthanasia. Educational materials which allegedly advocate human cloning and embryo research are to be sent to every Canadian school. They will be part of a programme which encourages pupils to lobby for measures to allow such practices. Schoolchildren in Toronto are being used to test the materials. [, 15 October ] Pro-life groups have submitted new legal and scientific evidence of the dangers of RU 486 to the US Food and Drug Administration. The American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Christian Medical Association and Concerned Women for America are making the move after the death last month of an 18-year-old who had taken mifepristone and misoprostol. They want the abortion drugs banned. [Cybercast, 16 October ] An Alaska state law requiring parents' consent for children's abortions has been declared unconstitutional. Judge Sen Tan's ruling was criticised as judicial activism by Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman who sponsored the law in 1997. The decision is expected to be appealed to the state supreme court. [Juneau Empire, 16 October ] An Indiana court has ruled that only one parent's consent is needed for a child to have an abortion even if the couple have a legal agreement to share health-related decisions about their daughter. The ruling is in line with the Indiana law on such consent. The lawyer who unsuccessfully supported the parents' agreement pointed out that the unidentified 16-year-old's unborn child was viable and could not be legally aborted in that state. [Focus on the Family, 15 October ]

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