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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Police investigate suspected 'mercy killing' in Spain

15 May 2006

Spanish police are investigating the suspected so-called mercy killing of Señor Jorge Leon Escudero, 53, who was paralysed from the neck down in an accident six years ago, and needed the help of a ventilator to breathe. He was found dead with his ventilator disconnected, and had apparently been given a sedative. Señor Leon had repeatedly used his weblog to appeal for someone to help him commit suicide. Doctors' groups in Spain have called for euthanasia to be legalised and the opposition United Left party has said it will present a motion to parliament calling for clarification of the law. The Spanish government is opposed to any change in the law. [Guardian, 9 May]

Pope Benedict XVI told the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family on Saturday that Christian families had to attest with their lives that procreation was the fruit of love, and that they could testify to the value of life by having children. He also mentioned attacks on marriage and the family in many countries. [Zenit, 14 May]

The number of pregnancies among 13 and 14 year old girls in Wales has increased from 16 in 2004 to 21 in 2005, according to figures released by National Health Service trusts. A Welsh girl aged 15 or under becomes pregnant every four days, and there were at least four 13 year old girls expecting babies in Wales last year. The statistics come in the week an 11-year-old girl from Edinburgh was revealed as Britain's youngest mother. [icWales, 15 May]

Ms Susan Deacon MSP, the former Scottish health minister, has called for mothers addicted to drugs to be offered contraceptive implants in maternity wards after they have given birth to stop them having further so-called unwanted children. Her comments follow those of Mr. Duncan McNeil, Labour MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, who called for oral contraceptives to be put into methadone, a heroin substitute sometimes prescribed for addicts. [The Scotsman, 15 May]

Catholic bishops in Colombia have said that civil disobedience may be necessary to resist the recent ruling by Colombia's constitutional court making the country the first in Latin America to legalise abortion. Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro rejected the court's decision to legalise abortion and said it was a crime against human life. He mentioned that both mother and baby needed help and support. [Catholic World News, 12 May]

The Kenyan Catholic bishops' conference has issued a statement rejecting the use of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), saying that the techniques used are morally unacceptable because they separate procreation from marital love. Their statement follows the recent announcement of the birth of two babies following IVF procedures. The bishops also noted the immorality of genetic screening of embryos and destroying those found to have a disabling condition. [Catholic World News, 12 May]

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