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Defending life from the moment of conception

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26 October 2005

26 October 2005

26 October 2005 Lord Joffe has defended his Patient Assisted Dying Bill in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

Answering concerns that people would feel pressured to end their lives because they were a 'burden', Lord Joffe said: 'To pretend one is not a burden when one is dying of motor neurone disease is not facing up to reality. People are burdens and they do not want to be. The carers are the people who want to keep them alive. But it is not for the carers to decide. It is for the individuals.'

Lord Joffe says he is 'cautiously optimistic' about the government's attitude to this fourth attempt to get his Bill through Parliament.

[The Guardian, 24 October ] Richard Harries, the Anglican Bishop of Oxford and an opponent of the Joffe bill, laid out his arguments against the legalisation of assisted suicide and called for a rational debate on the subject, with 'much less polemic, particularly polemic against people who are thought to argue their case simply on religious grounds.'

[The Guardian, 25 October ] A group of MPs have accused the BBC of bias in its reporting of the Joffe Bill. 26 backbench MPs have signed an Early Day Motion, which calls upon the Solicitor General to 'require the BBC to abide by its charter and to show impartiality on all issues of public policy.'

[This is Wiltshire, 25 October ] The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has recommended offering women injectable contraceptives and implants rather than the Pill in an attempt to reduce unplanned pregnancies, Sky News reports.

However, opponents of the proposal warn that it will increase risky sexual behaviour and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

[Sky News, 26 October ] A 28-year-old woman who survived an abortion has gone on a world tour, speaking about the reality of abortion. Gianna Jessen survived 18 hours in a chemical solution because the abortionist left after setting up the procedure.

She has forgiven her mother but expressed sadness at the determination of some pro-abortion groups to attack her or ignore what she has to say. "If abortion is merely about women's rights, then what were mine?" she asked. "There wasn't those particular kind of feminist squawking about my rights, in fact, those types of feminists prefer I'd die." (sic)

[, 25 October ] US scientists have been given permission to perform transplants using stem cells taken from aborted babies to attempt to treat children with a rare degenerative brain disease known as Batten's disease.

The cells used are immature neural cells rather than pluripotent embryonic stem cells, which it is hoped will develop into healthy brain cells in the recipients.

[The Scotsman, 22 October ] A Scottish study conducted by West Dunbartonshire Domestic Abuse Partnership and NHS Argyll and Clyde has reported that 30% of women claimed to have been the victims of violence from their partners during pregnancy.

The study attempted to explore the impact of domestic violence on women's health and whether or not they were likely to seek help.

[The Scotsman, 25 October ] Students from the UK, Canada, Germany, the US and the Philippines are to take part in the annual Students Day of Silent Solidarity for the unborn.

On the day in question, students will wear red armbands or cover their mouths with red tape and distribute literature explaining their silence.

[Christian Today, 25 October ] A study published in the journal Acta Paediatrica has suggested that women with a history of abortion are 2.4 times more likely to physically abuse their children.

The study, led by Professor Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green University, looked at 518 women and compared the incidence of child abuse and neglect among women who had experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion.

Women who had a history of miscarriage or abortion were more likely to abuse their children but the increase for abortion was more significant. The authors of the study suggested "emotional difficulties and unresolved grief responses" could impact upon women's mental health and future parenting. [, 24 October ]

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