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SPUC is asking supporters to quiz their MPs

15 August 2008

SPUC has produced a list of questions to be put to prospective parliamentary candidates on how they would vote on abortion-related amendments to the British government's embryo bill. John Smeaton writes: "We don't normally ask people to contact their [prospective candidates] until an election is approaching but this is a good way of increasing the 'political temperature' on the abortion amendments. We have the opportunity to do this because many local constituency parties selected their prospective candidates last year, in the expectation of an election last October. This means we have the opportunity to approach those prospective candidates now and ask how they would vote if elected." [SPUC director, 14 August]

Some organ donors are not dead when their body parts are taken from them, according to bioethicists writing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr Robert Truog of Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, and Dr Franklin Miller of the National Institutes of Health, Maryland, say that criteria for brain death and cardiac death are not supported by scientific literature. They write: "... although it may be perfectly ethical to remove vital organs for transplantation from patients who satisfy the diagnostic criteria of brain death, the reason it is ethical cannot be that we are convinced they are really dead." They write something similar about cardiac death. Our source suggests the acknowledgement of the inadequacy of such criteria significantly undermines the ethics of organ donation. [LifeSiteNews, 14 August]

A child in India whose parents wanted to abort him or her has been born dead. It was thought that Mrs Niketa Mehta's baby had a heart defect, but this was only detected after the 20-week abortion limit. A court rejected a request for abortion. Mr Haresh Mehta said the stress of the case on his wife caused the miscarriage. [Gulf News, 14 August]

The Spanish government has responded positively to an approach from a group which wants euthanasia and assisted suicide. The justice minister said he would satisfy requests from Right to Die with Dignity. The government was thinking deeply about palliative care and wanted the terminally ill to have a dignified end. [Catholic News Agency, 14 August] The terminally ill are, by definition, in the process of dying, and palliative care is one way of helping them do that with dignity. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are, of their nature, performed by people who are not otherwise dying; both acts are deeply undignified.

Girls aged 13 and 14 in a town in north-west England are to be offered a nine-week educational programme designed to cut teenage pregnancy. Chorley, Lancashire, has above-average teenage pregnancy rates, with 72 annual cases. Local government is spending some £5,000 on the scheme. [Chorley Guardian, 15 August]

It is 10 years since unborn twins were killed by a terrorist bomb in Omagh, Northern Ireland. Our source describes the attack as claiming "the lives of 29 people as well as unborn twins". [BBC, 15 August] The BBC, perhaps unwittingly, makes a false distinction between the unborn and other people.

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