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12 January 2005

12 January 2005

12 January 2005 Seven years after his death and in the wake of a film about his story, a friend has admitted that she assisted the suicide of Spanish euthanasia campaigner and writer Ramon Sampedro.

Mr Sampedro campaigned in favour of assisted suicide for thirty years after a diving accident left him paralysed from the neck down.

He recorded his suicide on video in order to leave no doubt of his intentions.

Ramona Maneiro Castro, telling her story in a television interview said that the cyanide did not provide him with "the ideal death about which he spoke so often", and described how "I felt sick afterwards, I had thought he would just close his eyes and go to sleep, just as he always thought." Mr Sampedro's sister-in-law Manuela Sonles commented: "Everyone knows she was the assassin and if she is now telling the truth this has been for money or to make herself famous."

Señora Maneiro is unlikely to face prosecution due to changes two months ago in assisted suicide law.

[The Times online, 12 January ] The European Parliament has voted by a large margin to endorse the proposed European Constitution.

MEPs voted 500 to 137 in support of the proposed constitution, with 40 abstentions.

The proposed constitution is yet to be ratified by most European Union member states.

[Reuters, 12 January ] Pro-lifers are concerned that new and expanded rights enshrined in the proposed constitution could lead to EU member-states being forced to allow access to abortion or euthanasia

[SPUC paper ] The Silent No More campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the negative effects of abortion on women, is to hold a demonstration at the United States Supreme Court to mark the 32nd anniversary of Roe v Wade. Protesters will hold placards saying 'I regret my abortion'.

Actress Jennifer O'Neill, who had an abortion as a young woman and will speak at the event, commented "To have the opportunity to encourage and comfort the hearts of women who have suffered is humbling, and making the whole truth known about abortion is absolutely necessary".

Silent No More is also supported by Ms Alveda King, niece of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

[Lifenews.com, 11 January ] A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health has found that stem cell research funding is not a priority for most Americans.

Federal funding for stem cell research ranked 12th out of twelve suggested priorities for health care funding, with issues such as lowering health care costs ranking much higher. The poll did not differentiate between embryonic and adult stem cell research.

[Lifenews.com, 11 January ] Bob and Mary Schindler, the parents of brain-damaged woman Terri Schindler Schiavo, have asked a judge to end her husband's legal guardianship of her. The Schindlers, who have for years fought Mr Schiavo's attempts to end Terri's life by withdrawing her feeding tube, argue that Mrs Schiavo's estranged husband has too many conflicting interests to act in Terri's best interests, and that an alternative guardian should be appointed. [Lifenews.com, 11th January 2005 ]


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