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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 7 October 2003

7 October 2003

7 October 2003 A hospital has been ordered to feed a 91-year-old woman after her relatives claimed that she had been left to die, The Telegraph reports. The family of Olive Nockels, who was hospitalised after suffering a stroke at her convalescent home, appealed to the High Court when the hospital refused to feed and hydrate her. A court injunction forces the hospital to feed Mrs Nockels pending a full hearing, which could become a test case in geriatric care. Julia Quenzler, spokeswoman for the campaign group SOS-NHS Patients in Danger, estimated that thousands were concerned about the treatment of their elderly relatives in hospitals. She stated: "I think this will be the first time the issue has been aired in court in this way and, hopefully, it will highlight the problems and set a precedent." [The Telegraph , EDP24, 7 October ] 10 disability rights organisations have joined forces to file an amicus legal brief opposing the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, LifeNews reports. The groups believe that the decision to end Mrs Schiavo's life by omission could have dangerous consequences for thousands of people with disabilities. "A judge's order to terminate the life of a woman with severe disabilities is not a private family matter," said attorney Max Lapertosa. "This case reflects whether our society and legal system values the lives of people with disabilities equally to those without disabilities." Groups participating in the brief include Not Dead Yet, American Association of People with Disabilities and the World Institute on Disability. [, 6 October ] Euthanasia campaigners built their own suicide machines at a workshop organised by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society in Queensland, Australia, Al-Jazeera reports. Those involved claimed that the machines, which cause death through carbon monoxide poisoning, were intended only for themselves and would not be used by others. The Greek Orthodox Church condemned euthanasia in a statement issued last Friday. It argued: "A practice of euthanasia could lead to a threat to the life of ill people unable to meet the cost of their treatment and favours the growth of a racist and eugenicist logic." [Aljazeera, 6 October ] Thousands of pro-life demonstrators have gathered across the United States to bear silent witness to the tragedy of abortion. 900 cities participated in the Life Chain, with men, women and teenagers lining avenues and roadsides, holding banners or praying. The event was reported widely in the local press. [Wand TV , Detroit Free Press , The Holland Sentinel , Kane County Chronicle , Appeal-Democrat , 6 October] The British government has appointed a new head for its population control agenda. Hilary Benn MP replaces Baroness Amos as Secretary of State for International Development, to head the government department which funds population control agencies such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Mr Benn was hitherto Baroness Amos' deputy, who has been made Leader of the House of Lords and who replaced Clare Short following the latter's resignation (see SPUC release, 12 May ). Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "Mr Benn is a supporter of UNFPA and Marie Stopes, so unfortunately this appointment does not indicate any change in the British government's neo-imperialist imposition of its pro-abortion population control agenda upon poor people in the developing world, including coercive abortion in China."

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