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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Weekly Update: 9 - 14 December

14 December 2005

Catch up on all the big news stories from the past week - here are some you may have missed:

A man who was cleared of murder after he smothered his disabled son, Jacob, with a pillow and claimed it was a mercy killing has walked free from a court with a two-year suspended sentence. Andrew Wragg admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. Judge Rafferty said she had 'no doubt' that Jacob's mother was complicit in the killing, accepting that Mr Wragg would not have killed the child if his wife had disagreed. Mrs Wragg said afterwards: "It has been extremely difficult to sit and listen as the dignity of my little boy has been destroyed in an effort to reduce the impact of his death. Jacob's condition has been used as an excuse for this crime and I find it appalling that anyone would try and portray him as being less deserving of his life or less entitled to enjoy every precious moment his condition allowed." [Telegraph, 13 December]

A woman has died after refusing cancer treatment for the sake of her unborn baby. Bernadette Mimura was diagnosed with cancer one month into her pregnancy and accepted only a low dose of chemotherapy to suppress the cancer during the period of her pregnancy. She died at a hospice shortly after the birth of her baby, Nathan, and will be buried in her native Philippines. Nathan's father, Adam Taylor, said: "Being a Catholic, abortion was out of the question for her. It was a tough decision, but we could not give up on Nathan." [Telegraph, 10 December]

A scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has argued that embryonic stem cell research is unethical and of dubious potential to cure life-threatening diseases. In an interview with MercatorNet, Professor James Sherley spoke of the humanity of the embryo and the potential of adult stem cell research. He also exposed the moral contradiction in the widespread belief that cloning for research purposes is morally acceptable and so-called 'reproductive' cloning unacceptable. [MercatorNet, 6 December]

The highest national court of Colombia has refused to issue a ruling on a legal case that sought to legalise abortion under certain circumstances. The court stated that the case, brought by Women's Link Worldwide, did not contain sufficient arguments to allow a ruling. [Medical News Today, 9 December]

The governor of Massachusetts announced last week that Catholic and other private hospitals will be obliged to dispense the abortion-inducing morning after pill to women who have been sexually assaulted. Mitt Romney had previously said that hospitals had a right to refuse to dispense the drug on moral grounds but his legal counsel later concluded that a new state law overrules a previous law that protected private hospitals from being forced to provide contraception or abortion. [LifeSiteNews, 9 December]

The Czech Republic is considering proposals to lower the legal penalty for euthanasia by reclassifying it as a separate offence from murder. Religious leaders issued a joint statement opposing the proposal, with Rabbi Karel Sidon warning: "Jews have their own experience of euthanasia from the Nazi period. People were killed simply because they weren't seen as suitable for the development of society. It began with the sick, and ended with six million victims of the Holocaust." [LifeNews, 13 December]

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