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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Bishops issue interfaith document opposing Joffe Bill

5 May 2006

The Catholic Bishop of Nottingham, England, and the Anglican Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham have issued a joint statement opposing Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill which seeks to legalise assisted suicide. Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon and Rt Rev George Cassidy write: "While we understand the motive behind this Bill is the relief of suffering, we believe that its principles are fundamentally opposed to the preservation of the sanctity of human life, a cornerstone of our beliefs as Christians, and an approach shared by many others from other faith groups as well as those without religious belief." [The Church of England Newspaper, 5 May] The bill is due to be debated in the House of Lords a week from today (on Friday 12 May).

The premier of the Australian state of Victoria, Mr Steve Bracks, has allegedly made a secret pact to allow abortion to be decriminalised in the state if he is re-elected in November. Ms Carolyn Hirsch MP has said that Mr Bracks told her that, if she kept silent on the issue up to the election, decriminalising abortion would be "top of his agenda" if he won a third term. This could allow abortions up to birth in Victoria, according to former minister Christine Campbell. [Herald Sun, 5 May]

The Chilean Catholic bishops' conference has said that human progress is dependent on the protection of life from conception to natural death, the recognition of the family founded on marriage and the right of parents to educate their children. In a message entitled New Life in Christ, issued on 2nd May, the bishops reaffirmed their solidarity with the pope who identified the same principles as vital for human development earlier this year. [Life Site, 4 May]

A leader of a population control advocacy group has said that women who have been abused in the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, should have access to abortions. Ms Tamara Fetters, a researcher for Ipas, said that all refugee health facilities should provide abortion. Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said, "These poor women have already been viciously violated. Yet political agitators are using refugee women as props to push a second violation - abortion - upon them." [Life News, 4 May]

India's booming population should be seen as an economic advantage, rather than a burden, according to experts. The Indian government has been trying to reduce the size of the population from its current 1.1 billion by encouraging birth control. Economists have said that the increase of the working-age group (15-59) will bring great advantages to India's economy. It has been predicted that India could catch up with China's economy by 2030 when the results of the latter country's one-child policy are expected to show themselves in an ageing population. C P Chandrasekhar, an economist of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said, "The window of opportunity offered by a population bulge has clearly opened for India." [Asia Times, 5 May]

There will be a mini-baby boom in China before 2010, according to Chinese population experts. The Xinhua state-run news agency said children born after the 1984 policy, allowing rural families to have a second child if the first was a girl, have now reached child-bearing age and will start to have children. This is expected to be the country's second baby boom since the one-child policy was implemented in 1973. Zhang Weiqing, minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission has stressed that family planning laws will be enforced to stabilise the birth rate. [China Knowledge, 3 May]

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