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Bournemouth council bans lecture on how to commit suicide

8 October 2008

A local authority in southern England has banned a lecture on how to commit suicide. Bournemouth council, Dorset, cancelled a booking of one of its halls for a talk by Dr Philip Nitschke of Australia. Advance publicity suggested he would exhibit a bag for suffocation and poisonous drugs. He hopes to find another venue in the town for the meeting. [Dorset Echo, 8 October]

 Antidepressants could have avoided suicides in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal. Researchers found more than 15% of patients who were prescribed poisonous drugs were depressed. [Healthcare Republic, 8 October]

Terminal patients and their relatives benefit from talking about death, according to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts. Discussions of the type of care they wanted reportedly meant that dying people had a better quality of life. [Reuters, 7 October]

An amendment to the British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill would require scientific proof that human and human/animal embryos were the only way of achieving a research objective. It comes from Mr David Burrowes, Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate. [House of Commons, 7 October] The next stages of the bill's parliamentary consideration could be two weeks from today (the 22nd). The House of Commons report stage and third reading have reportedly been scheduled for then.

There is to be a pro-life rally and prayer-vigil outside the Northern Ireland assembly. The Sacred Heart of Jesus group of Derry will assemble today-week (the 15th) at Stormont. They object to an amendment to the embryology bill which would extend Britain's liberal abortion law to the province. [Derry Journal, 8 October]

The leader of the National Association of Catholic Families in Britain has suggested that a former government minister evaded her moral duty by reportedly arranging to be absent from a parliamentary vote on the embryo bill while she was still in the cabinet. Dr Thomas Ward, who is also a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, criticised Ms Ruth Kelly MP, a Catholic, saying that her effective abstention was a failure to protect vulnerable human live. It was scandalous and damaged the church. [LifeSiteNews, 7 October] Ms Kelly left the government amid rumours that she was going because of the embryology issue.

National Right to Life says Senator Barack Obama, Democrat candidate for US president, is downplaying his voting record on abortion, having flaunted it during the primary elections. Mr Douglas Johnson said the move was a "scam", in collaboration with the media, aimed at misleading pro-life voters. Mr Obama was actually highly pro-abortion. [LifeNews, 7 October]

A widow has applied to a court in northern England for permission to use her dead husband's sperm for IVF. The un-named 42-year-old woman claims she has a right to children but the judge in Preston, Lancashire, doubted the legality of the removal last year of gametes from the man's corpse without his explicit prior consent. [Sun, 8 October]

Later motherhood and working in pregnancy could increase the risk of heart attack among expectant women, according to research by Tel Aviv university, Israel, on more than 100 patients. Smoking was also a serious danger. [Daily Mail, 7 October] Air-pollution affects the unborn, say Bern, Switzerland, scientists who studied some 240 infants. [Current.com, 7 October] Babies born more than a week after their due date are at risk, University of California scientists found. [Medical News Today, 7 October]

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