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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 May 2004

27 May 2004

27 May 2004 During a press conference to launch the Catholic bishops' teaching document Cherishing Life, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was asked whether English priests would withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians. The Cardinal responded: "I would not want to deal with [a disagreement] in that way." [The Guardian, 27 May ] The US appeals court has ruled that the Attorney General exceeded his authority when he ordered Oregon doctors not to prescribe lethal doses of medication to aid the suicide of terminally ill patients. Oregon is the only US state to permit assisted suicide and at least 170 people have died as a result. Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a directive in 2001 stating that using drugs to aid suicide did not constitute a legitimate medical purpose. He is expected to appeal against the ruling. [BBC, 27 May ] Tayside is the abortion capital of Scotland, according to new figures released by NHS Scotland. 12,217 abortions were carried out in Scotland last year, the highest rate being 16.7 abortions per 1000 women in Tayside and the lowest, 7.2 per 1000 in the Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles. Claire McGraw of SPUC Scotland urged the government to rethink its strategy and spoke of SPUC's educational work. "We teach about the development of the unborn child and try and get them to realise the responsibility that comes from having children," she said. "Seeing the humanity of the unborn child makes them think twice about having irresponsible sex." [Courier News, 27 May ] A Tasmanian man has walked free after being convicted of helping his elderly mother to commit suicide. John Godfrey faced a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment for helping Elizabeth Godfrey, 88, to kill herself in 2002 but was given a 12-month suspended sentence on the grounds that, according to the judge: "His crime was motivated solely by compassion and love. It was an act of last resort." [IOL, 26 May ] Dr John Ozolins, head of the Australian Catholic University philosophy school commented that people nearing the end of life needed help and that assisted suicide was morally wrong. [, 27 May ]

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