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Defending life
from conception to natural death


weekly update, 16 to 22 March 2006

22 March 2006

weekly update, 16 to 22 March 2006 A UK peer spoke out strongly against the dangers of Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill at a public debate at the Middle Temple Inn of Court, London. Lord Brennan called the bill "wrong in principle, unworkable in practice and a serious danger to the common good of our society". Dr Rob George, a leading palliative care expert, drew attention to the fact that "The Bill changes a freedom to die into an entitlement to be killed... Killing is being regarded as a treatment". A number of groups participated in the debate, including the Lawyer's Christian Fellowship, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (now renamed Dignity in Dying) and the Care Not Killing Alliance, an umbrella group of medical and political organisations. [The Universe, 16 March ] The Anglican Bishop of Hereford has publicly opposed the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill. Rt Rev Anthony Priddis called on churchgoers to show their opposition to euthanasia by writing to their MPs and urging them to vote against the bill. He said that, if assisted suicide were legalised, relationships between doctors and patients would be seriously undermined and elderly patients could be put under pressure. The second reading of the bill is expected to take place in May. [BBC, 21 March ] The Bill is expected to have its next reading in the House of Lords on 12 May. The parents of baby MB have expressed their joy at Mr Justice Holman's ruling in the High Court which forbade doctors from removing their son's life-saving ventilation. MB's father said "I'm glad to be his father. He deserves life. He deserves to stay alive". Meanwhile Jeremy Howat, whose daughter also suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, commented, "My wife and I have a 25 per cent chance of having another child with SMA. You have to ask yourself whether, at some point in the future, they would be able to stop people like us from having another child because it may have SMA. I'm glad that the judge was able to see this baby as a human being and not a disease". [The Times, 16 March ] China will not change its one-child policy, according to a senior official in the family planning programme. In an attempt to quash rumours that the policy could be dropped, Zhang Weiqing, Minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said, "To maintain the current low birth rate, the family planning policy must not change." Claiming that the one-child policy had helped prevent million of births in the last 30 years, Mr Weiqing defended the coercive programme, saying, "The goal of ensuring Chinese people a relatively comfortable life would not be achieved if we had 400 million more people." [The Hindu, 22 March ] Nigeria's bishops have warned against the promotion of anti-life legislation. In the statement issued on 16th March after the meeting of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Abuja, the bishops criticised the Bill on the Establishment of a National Reproductive Health Institute. "We urge all men and women of goodwill to join hands in denouncing the culture of death in all its forms and promoting the culture of life", the statement said. [, 15 March ]

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