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Defending life
from conception to natural death


29 July 2005

29 July 2005

29 July 2005 The English appeal court has overturned a ruling preventing doctors from stopping artificial nutrition and hydration once Mr Leslie Burke's degenerative brain condition makes him unable to communicate his wishes.

Sir Graeme Catto, president of the General Medical Council which launched the appeal, commented: "Patients should be reassured by this judgement which emphasises the partnership needed to resolve end of life issues ... Our guidance makes it clear that patients should never be discriminated against on the grounds of disability." Mr Burke said: "I have every wish to take it to the House of Lords even though for me personally I should be OK."

[BBC, 28 July ] Alison Davis of No Less Human said: "This judgment is very worrying for all disabled people, as it will enable, if not encourage, doctors to favour death over life with a disability."

The UK's opposition spokeswoman on the family has said that the rise in abortion levels for girls of 13 and under is 'deeply concerning'. Commenting on the recently-released abortion statistics, Mrs Theresa May also said the government's teenage pregnancy strategy was failing, and that "we need to educate and instil young girls with the self esteem to resist the pressures which are clearly placed on them at such young ages, and equip them with the confidence to say no."

[, 27 July ] Irish newspapers report that UK abortion statistics for 2004 show a 1.7% drop in Irish women travelling to England to obtain abortions.

Niall Behan of the Irish Family Planning Association said that this may be due to more women travelling to other European countries, such as the Netherlands, for abortions.

[, 27 July ] The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is considering new regulations to restrict embryo implants in IVF to one per woman in an attempt to reduce the number of multiple births.

The current rules allow the implanting of 2 embryos after IVF treatment for women under the age of 40 and 3 for those older than 40. 23.6% of births resulting from IVF are twins and 0.5% are triplets.

Angela McNab, HFEA chief executive, said: "We know that the biggest risk from fertility treatment is caused by multiple births - having twins or triplets - and this is a risk both to the mother and to the children born."

[The Herald, 29 July ] SPUC comment: Ms McNab disregards the huge risks to test-tube babies that are inherent in the process.

These mean that for babies created in the laboratory, the biggest risks are of being "surplus to requirement", being fodder for experiments, and of dying in the early stages of development if transferred to the womb.

The Senate Majority Leader is planning to support legislation to increase taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Bill Frist in opposition to President Bush, whose policy limits federal financing of such research.

Frist is apparently personally pro-life, but claims that he can reconcile these opinions with supporting embryonic stem cell research on the grounds that it could help find cures for illnesses. President Bush has warned that he will veto any legislation for expanded financial support for stem cell research.

[The Guardian, 29 July ] A leading American pro-abortion group is claiming that President Bush conspired with pro-life groups in choosing to nominate John Roberts for the Supreme Court. NARAL has requested to see documents from the White House under the Freedom of Information Act about the decision making process that might include contact between the President and pro-life groups.

Pro-life groups have mostly welcomed the news of Mr Roberts's nomination.

It is unlikely that NARAL will be able to see any documents as the Freedom of Information Act does not cover the White House.

[Life News, 28 July ] A Northern Ireland MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, is leading a group of MPs who have a begun a campaign against euthanasia.

They have criticised the British Medical Association for dropping its opposition to physician assisted suicide, saying that its new position "withdraws protection from the most vulnerable patients."

Mr Donaldson also criticised the way voting at the recent BMA annual conference was handled, where it seems only 175 of 304 eligible voting delegates were present for votes on euthanasia. [News Letter, 26 July ]

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