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Defending life
from conception to natural death


90% of doctors reject euthanasia law change

30 January 2006

The chairman of the ethics committee of the Association for Palliative Medicine has criticised a pro-euthanasia article in The Times of London in a letter to the editor. Dr David Jeffrey wrote that 90% of doctors questioned in a recent survey did not want the law on euthanasia to be changed and that it was not just 'bishops and other moralists' who oppose assisted suicide. He also condemned the view that terminally ill patients are doomed to die painful, undignified deaths, citing 'the dignity of thousands of patients who have died peacefully with palliative care support.' [The Times, 28 January]

A report by the think tank Women's Forum Australia has suggested that 'financial concerns' and 'lack of commitment from a male partner' are the most common reasons cited by women for having an abortion. Data included surveys of women waiting at abortion facilities. There are around 84,000 abortions in Australia every year. In a separate story, Australians Against RU-486 lobbied more than 500 churches of different denominations yesterday and it is hoped that over 75,000 letters have been written as part of the campaign. [The Australian, 30 January]

A MORI poll has suggested that 10% of UK women support a total ban on abortion and 47% of women support reducing the 24 week limit for abortion. 90% of abortions in the UK take place before 12 weeks with around 1.5% taking place after 20 weeks. A spokesman for SPUC warned that current legislation allows abortion beyond 24 weeks, up to birth, on certain grounds and that any law aimed at reducing the upper time limit may open the door to more abortions. [The Scotsman, 30 January]

Opponents of euthanasia have condemned a government consultation on the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act, due to come into force next year. The consultation paper includes a draft of a form on which a person can tick a box giving power to refuse life-sustaining treatment to a third-party. Julian Brazier MP said: "This is deeply alarming. The concern is that treatment is considered to include food and water. Withdrawal of food and water does amount to euthanasia through the back door." [Sky News, 30 January]

A former chairman of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and doctor who was struck off the medical register last year has spoken about accompanying a Scottish woman to Switzerland for assisted suicide. Dr Michael Irwin claimed that he found May Murphy's suicide 'fascinating' as he had never watched a person kill herself before and says that he hopes to be questioned by the police. [BBC, 28 January]

Pope Benedict XVI has urged Italian workers to defend human life, CWNews reports. In a talk to leaders of the Christian Associations of Italian Workers, Pope Benedict stated that the 'primary duty' of those involved in public life is 'the defence of life - from conception to natural end - wherever it is threatened, violated or trampled.' [CWNews, 27 January]

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