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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 21 October 2004

21 October 2004

21 October 2004 A British court is to decide the fate of a baby boy with Edward's Syndrome. Luke Winston-Jones was expected to live for just a few days after birth but is now nine months old and doctors have asked a judge to rule whether or not he should be resuscitated if his condition deteriorates. His mother Ruth has said that she will fight the doctors' application to the courts, calling it a 'death sentence'. [ITV, 21 October ] The British Medical Association has responded to a survey conducted by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society demonstrating that the majority of doctors oppose euthanasia. Dr Michael Wilks, Chairman of the BMA Ethics Committee stated: "As the body representing doctors in the UK, the BMA is opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide because this is the view of the majority of its members. VES' own survey results also demonstrate that doctors are opposed to euthanasia. When respondents were asked under what circumstances they thought the law should permit voluntary euthanasia, 53% answered 'under no circumstances' - a clear majority. Physician-assisted suicide has been debated many times at the BMA's annual meetings and on every occasion the membership has decided against calling for a change in the law." [BMA, 21 October ] Pregnant women are to be asked if they are being beaten by their husbands or boyfriends as part of routine antenatal checks, the Telegraph reports. The decision is part of a plan by the UK Government to tackle domestic violence, which according to research is more likely to begin or escalate during pregnancy. Critics have described the move as 'intrusive' and 'bureaucratic'. [The Telegraph, 21 October ] Australia's Special Minister of State has said that he supports ending Medicare funding for 'social convenience' abortions. Senator Eric Abetz said that he would support changing the law to end taxpayer funding of most abortions, though he admitted that this was not in line with government policy. [SMH.com.au, 21 October ] The US Ambassador to the UN delivered a statement to mark the 10th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, highlighting US funding of maternal health assistance, AIDS relief programmes and the fight against the trafficking of persons. Sichan Siv told the General Assembly that abstinence and fidelity should be the focus of HIV prevention programmes, along with the empowerment and protection of women and that the US had made a priority of 'respect for motherhood, the rights and responsibilities of parents, and the family as the basic and fundamental unit of societies everywhere'. Sweden condemned the US for stopping its funding of UNFPA, stating that "the Swedish Government will continue to argue that every woman should have the right to choose a legal and safe abortion." [C-Fam, 15 October ] Pro-life groups in Brazil are attempting to prevent a Supreme Court decision that would legalise abortion in cases of anencephaly. In early July, Chief Justice Marco Aurelio Mello ruled that anencephalic babies could be induced early into order to hasten their deaths. [CWNews, 20 October ]

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