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Defending life from the moment of conception

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MSP MacDonald issues assisted suicide consultation paper

8 December 2008

A member of the Scottish parliament who has Parkinson's disease was today due to issue a consultation paper which could lead to the legalisation of assisted suicide. Ms Margo MacDonald, independent member for Lothians, has made a programme about terminal illness to be shown on BBC television tonight. She interviews Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, who she says disagrees with her but who approves of debate of the matter. She claims the church no longer deems suicide a grave sin. Her plans appear to involve pacts between Scottish-resident patients and their family doctors. It is not clear how Ms MacDonald would want doctors to kill people. [Observer, 7 December]

A major church university in Rome has received protests that it is to host a lecture by a Catholic lawyer who dissents from that faith's doctrine on life-related matters. Ms Cherie Booth is due on Friday to address an audience at Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas on religion and women's rights. The authorities were surprised at the outcry but will not cancel the talk. [Mail on Sunday, 7 December] One source says the university, also known as the Angelicum, claims not to know of Ms Booth's stance on human life. [LifeSiteNews, 5 December] SPUC's national director writes: "Let us suppose that, in the 1930s, a lawyer had hosted, celebrated and endorsed organisations which promoted, performed and/or demanded the killing of Jews. Would it have been right for Catholic universities and academies to have invited such a lawyer to be a featured speaker?" SPUC is urging supporters to keep on pressing the Angelicum to revoke its invitation to Ms Booth. [John Smeaton, 8 December]

A couple in Britain whose two sons have muscular dystrophy used pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to exclude male IVF embryos because daughters are supposed to be less likely to suffer from the condition. Ms Nadine Green now has twin daughters and says she had no choice but to use sex-selection; she felt that she and her husband were playing God. Her third son was diagnosed in utero as having muscular dystrophy too and Ms Green had him aborted. The two six-week-old girls are carriers of the disease. [News of the World, 7 December]
The lawyer of a man who persuaded a court to remove his wife's feeding tube is advising Senator Barack Obama, US president-elect, on staffing his justice department. Mr Thomas Perrelli, who practises in Washington, DC, represented Mr Michael Schiavo in the matter of Mrs Theresa Schiavo whose brain had been damaged but who did not need help with breathing. Mr Obama regrets voting in the senate to save her life. [LifeNews, 7 December] A senior UN lobbyist is among pro-life people who are worried by Senator Hillary Clinton's appointment as secretary of state. Ms Jeanne Head told the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute: "Hillary would promote her husband's agenda at the United Nations to make abortion a fundamental human right worldwide." Mrs Clinton allegedly influenced President Bill Clinton's international social policy. Ms Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America said Mr Obama was placing abortion supporters throughout his government. [LifeNews/CFam, 5 December]

The president of Uruguay has left the socialist party after blocking a law to liberalise abortion. Mr Tabaré Vázquez, a physician, resigned after the party challenged his veto. [Catholic News Agency, 5 December]

Planned Parenthood of Maryland has reportedly funded the researchers who recently claimed that abortion had no adverse psychological effects. The Family Research Council, which revealed the fact about the Johns Hopkins University team, also points out that Dr Robert Blum, a co-author of the report, runs a $1 billion population control programme and is a director of the Alan Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's former research arm. [LifeNews, 5 December] The Pro-life Action League is countering Planned Parenthood's gift voucher scheme by asking for donations to support a crisis pregnancy and post-abortion helpline. [Catholic News Agency, 7 December]

It is predicted that Ireland's referendum on a European Union treaty will be repeated in October of next year. Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty in June. Our source claims Mr Brian Cowen, prime minister, will announce the plan this week, and that the vote will only be held if, among other conditions, Ireland's abortion law is immune from interference by the EU court. [Telegraph, 8 December]

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