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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 October 2003

2 October 2003

2 October 2003 A French doctor has claimed that euthanasia 'probably' occurs every day, Reuters reports. Dr Frederic Chaussoy said that he switched off the life support machine of Vincent Humbert, a paralysed accident victim left in a coma when his mother injected his IV drip with barbiturates. Dr Chaussoy said: "We know very well how to lie. We do it regularly and we could just have just continued this tradition of hypocrisy. But in this case it was better to tell the truth." [Reuters, 1 October ] Euthanasia has become a subject of discussion in Korea following admissions by the medical profession that 'passive' euthanasia may be widespread in the country. The law obliges doctors to prevent families from taking their terminally ill relatives away from hospital but, according to a report in The Korea Times, families are often driven to do so by financial pressures and traditional beliefs that parents should die peacefully in their own home. In 2001, the Korean Medical Association drafted a much-criticised code of ethics allowing the discontinuation of treatment for terminally patients on the request of family members. [The Korea Times, 2 October ] The Liberal Democrats have criticised new laws that will fine local authorities that have too many elderly patients taking up hospital beds. Under the Delayed Discharges Act, social services have two days to find appropriate care places for elderly patients after they are discharged from hospital or they face a £120 fine. Lib Dem spokesman Paul Burstow, called the rules an 'incentive for chucking the sick and elderly onto the street', warning that it would lead to a rise in the death toll among the elderly. [Epolitix, 2 October ] One of the two women who lost their legal battle to have their embryos implanted without the consent of their former partners, has spoken of her despair at the decision. Lorraine Hadley commented: "An embryo is not just a possession to be divided up in the divorce proceedings. It is a baby in the making. I fully accept that men have rights too. But I find it abhorrent that we should be allowed to create these little human beings - and then flush them down the toilet on a whim... Why should one of us have the right to say the embryos should be destroyed simply because it doesn't suit them any more?" [The Daily Mail, 2 October] The US government has withheld $25 million of funding from the UNFPA, CWNews reports. Like last year, when Secretary of State Colin Powell withheld the money following investigations into UNFPA's operations in China, the funds will be transferred to the Child Survival account to be spent on life-saving aid such as immunisation programmes. The Population Research Institute stated: "The real winners of this decision not to fund UNFPA for 2003 are the women of the world, who are emboldened by the US decision to not fund groups that collaborate with coercive and inhumane population controllers." [CWNews, 1 October ] A hearing was held in Washington last week by the Subcommittee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to promote advances in the area of in utero surgery. The parents of Samuel Armas were among those who gave evidence at the hearing. Samuel Armas became internationally famous when he reached out of the womb during surgery for spina bifida and grabbed the surgeon's finger, a gesture recorded on camera and dubbed "the hand of hope." [Culture&Life Foundation/CWNews, 1 October ] In a speech to the UN commission, which is meeting to approve an International Convention Against Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings, the Holy See has again urged a ban on all forms of human cloning. The Holy See's permanent observer at the UN, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, reiterated the Vatican's opposition to human cloning for all purposes and voiced concern that the human demand for eggs would create 'a new type of injustice, victimisation and discrimination' against women. He also expressed support for the great potential offered by adult stem cell research. The commission may present a resolution to the General Assembly for debate on October 20. [Zenit, 1 October ]

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