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Uni professor to promote suicide at today's Edinburgh conference

5 October 2007

A university professor will advocate physician-assisted suicide (PAS) at a conference being held today in Edinburgh, Scotland, organised by the Royal College of Physicians. Professor Sheila McLean of Glasgow University told the Scotsman that PAS is already practised but under different names. She claimed that patients refusing treatment were in this category, and said the law should be extended to allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs. She further suggests that people other than doctors could perform this function, and it should not be limited to those who are terminally ill. [Scotsman, 3 October , Herald, 3 October] SPUC comment: At present, patients who decline treatment rarely do so for suicidal motives. What is most disturbing about these comments is that just as the Mental Capacity Act, creating statutory killing by omission, is coming into force, Professor McLean, is demanding that active medical killing should be legalised.

An international initiative focussing on maternal and child health has been launched by NGOs and agencies of the UN. Deliver Now for Women and Children includes safe (i.e. legal) abortion as a service necessary to cut the maternal death rate, but is using unreliable statistics to support this approach, LifeSite reports. Pro-family groups are concerned that, by focusing on unsafe abortions, attention is drawn away from the major health risks to pregnant women in the developing world, such as severe bleeding, eclampsia and obstructed labour. Also ignored is the fact that developed countries with restricted abortion have low maternal mortality. Although it denies supporting abortion, UNICEF is one of the sponsors of the campaign and Kul Gautam, deputy director, is chairman of the co-ordinating body. [Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute on LifeSite, 4 October]

The Australian Catholic bishops' conference has called on Catholics to break off ties with Amnesty International (AI) because of the organisation's new policy of endorsing legal abortion. Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, president of the episcopal conference, said that AI had adopted a position which goes against the Catholic understanding of the human person and the sacredness of life, and so membership was no longer compatible with Catholic teaching and belief. He urged Catholics to seek other avenues for defending human rights. [CWN on EWTN, 4 October]

A 60-year-old Japanese woman is 15 weeks' pregnant after receiving IVF with a donated egg in the US. She could not have had the treatment under Japanese regulations, but has found an obstetrician to handle the birth. [Guardian, 5 October]

The spokesman for the Connecticut Catholic hospitals has clamed that the Catholic Health Association (CHA) supports the policy of allowing emergency contraception for rape victims. The CHA reportedly presents emergency contraception as permissible after a positive ovulation test, by accepting the pro-abortion definition of pregnancy as beginning at implantation. [LifeSite, 4 October]

Authorities in Chile are investigating a teenage couple, both 16, who allegedly advertised their unborn baby, due in December, for sale over the internet. The couple had planned the sale as soon as they knew about the pregnancy, because they said they were unable to raise the child. Police have referred the case to welfare services, but no charges will be brought. The relative with whom they are living has undertaken to support them. [Sky, 5 October]

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