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Defending life from the moment of conception

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China compared to Nazi Germany over forced abortion

11 April 2008

A Catholic bishop has compared China to Nazi Germany. Rt Rev Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell, Scotland, was speaking in the context of pro-Tibet protests during the Beijing Olympic flame's tour of Britain, The Wishaw Press reports. He said that the Chinese régime forced women to have abortions and to be sterilised in Tibet as well as in its own country. Bishop Devine called for worldwide peaceful demonstrations against "the biggest police state in the world". [Wishaw Press, 9 April] Archbishop Braulio Rodríguez of Valladolid, Spain, has described modern western society as eugenic because of legal abortion. [EWTN, 7 April]

An opinion poll with 1,500 respondents suggests popular UK support for animal-human hybrid embryos. The Populus survey found that 50% agreed to such research with 30% against it. Only 32% supported the removal of the requirement for a father in fertility treatment. [Times, 10 April] The online edition has attracted some critical readers' comments: "It is a 'if this could cure your granny tomorrow would you still be opposed' kind of Poll. The public is clearly divided on this with large numbers in favour and large numbers against, with some passion on both sides.." writes David from London. The Times article links to the Populus site, where the response data, and the questions asked, are included (scroll to the bottom of the page for embryology questions).

A previous survey of opinion in Scotland, conducted for the Catholic church by the Opinion Research Business, suggested 67% opposition to hybrids. [Daily Record, 3 April] Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, has made a video in which he opposes hybrids and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. It has been posted on the web. [YouTube, 10 April]

A less intensive form of IVF could make the treatment safer for women, though with a reduced likelihood of live birth. A Japanese study, described at a recent London fertility conference, involved giving smaller doses of ovulation-stimulant. The success-rate (in terms of giving birth) was cut from nearly 30% to 23%. [Daily Mail, 9 April] IVF has been successfully performed in England using 19-year-old sperm from a Cheshire man whose gametes were frozen prior to cancer treatment which was likely to sterilise him. [Manchester Evening News, 10 April]

Patients in the Netherlands are allegedly being put into a coma with sedatives and left to die of dehydration. An Erasmus university, Rotterdam, study found that the deaths of 1,800 people in 2005 involved so-called deep sedation. Mr Wesley J Smith, an American lawyer, is quoted as saying that Dutch doctors seeking to euthanise patients were using the technique to avoid being present at the death. [LifeNews, 9 April] The practice sometimes called "terminal sedation" is known to be used in Britain, but is of questionable legality here.

A paralysed man has asked the president of India for euthanasia or a cure for his condition. Mr Dilip Machua, 30, of Jarkhand state used to support his mother, wife and two young daughters by retrieving scrap from slag heaps but cannot move after an accident. He is petitioning President Pratibha Patil of the Congress party. [New Kerala, 9 April]

The chairman of the Scottish Medicines Consortium says that his informal polling of public meetings suggested support for diverting health spending from the old to the young. Dr Ken Paterson wanted the matter discussed but old people's charities expressed concern that vital drugs could be denied to the elderly. Help the Aged said there was ageism in the state health service, and Age Concern pointed out that old people had contributed to the cost of the service. [Daily Express, 9 April] A Church of Scotland minister also recently suggested that funds should be switched from the old to the young.

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