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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Irish government threatening pro-life pregnancy counsellors

13 July 2007

Pro-life pregnancy counselling charities in Ireland may lose their state financial support as they have not yet signed a new contract with the government funding agency. By signing the contract with the Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA), CURA and Life would be forced to give women leaflets containing the names and addresses of other agencies that would provide them with information about abortion clinics abroad. The chief executive of the CPA, Caroline Spillane, said that no exemptions would be granted from the terms of the contract but that negotiations were going on. [Irish Independent, 12 July] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network, Dublin, said: "This is clearly a new attempt by the crisis pregnancy agency to attach unconstitutional provisions to government funding of pro-life counselling agencies. Cura and Life are right and they should continue to reject the contracts until they are satisfactorily amended. No amount of funding is worth one single life."

Katherine Bulbulia, the chairwoman of CPA said that all women who have a crisis pregnancy should attend counselling sessions, after it was reported that only one in three such women did so. She said: "For that to happen, a woman needs to be able to choose with confidence the agency that best suits her needs." She emphasised that all crisis pregnancy counselling had to provide the same level of information regardless of the organisation's ethos. [Irish Examiner, 12 July]

The Irish government is to invest €4.5 million in sex education in the country. The CPA, which is working with the Department of Education and the Health Service Executive, has said that the plans are essential to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Ireland. They plan to develop a DVD and a lesson plan. [Belfast Telegraph, 11 July] Patrick Buckley said: "Given the unsatisfactory record of the CPA, they should not be trusted to provide any sex-ed programmes. This kind of education is best carried by parents. When the programme becomes available, we will issue a full report."

Two American nurses have admitted administering overdoses of drugs to a terminally ill woman in an act that they claimed to be assisted suicide. Rebecca Cain and Diana Corson, speaking to the Oregon State Board of Nursing, said that they had given a lethal dose of morphine and phenobarbital to Wendy Melcher, who had cancer, during their work at Providence St. Vincent Hospice. The family of Ms Melcher have called her consent into question. Their spokesman, Mara Woloshin, said: "The family wants some answers. This family is bleeding from the emotional pain. They have been broadsided. They think someone may have participated in ending Melcher's life prematurely without (Melcher's) consent." William Toffler, a faculty member at the Oregon Health Sciences University and national director of Physicians for Compassionate Care, said this case was not physician-assisted suicide, which is legal in the state, but nurse-assisted suicide which is not. He said: "It's outside the law, and if being outside the law is criminal, it's criminal." [LifeSite, 9 July]

Another two American nurses who were accused of euthanizing patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans have had the charges against them dropped. Nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry worked at the New Orleans Memorial Medical Centre and were arrested along with Dr Anna Pou on the charge that they had killed four patients by administering lethal doses of morphine. Rick Simmons, Dr Pou's attorney, said: "All along, Dr Pou and the nurses have contended that there was no criminal wrongdoing in connection with their conduct at Memorial Hospital. We are glad that the charges against the nurses have been dismissed and look forward to a similar result with regard to Dr Pou." [LifeNews, 4 July]

A man in America has been sentenced to death following his trial for the murders of 10 women and an unborn baby. Chester Turner, a pizza delivery man from Los Angeles, was found guilty of murdering 10 prostitutes and other impoverished women during the 1980s and 90s. One victim, Regina Washington, was 6 months' pregnant when Turner strangled her, and in addition to 10 counts of first-degree murder, he was charged with the second degree murder of Ms Washington's unborn child. Another of his victims, Dandrea Tripplett, was also pregnant at the time but Turner was not charged with the murder of her baby since Californian law does not consider a foetus to be viable at five months. "We are still in disbelief that her precious life was taken from us," said Triplett's sister. "The hole punched in our hearts will never close." [Guardian, 10 July]

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