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Nearly 40% of GPs support euthanasia

6 February 2009

Nearly two fifths of family doctors in Britain support euthanasia and would assist suicides, according to a recent survey of 460 respondents described in GP magazine. Twice as many support changes to the law on assisted suicide as did five years ago. A 2004 survey found four fifths of such doctors against euthanasia. The British Medical Association repeated its opposition to changes to the law on euthanasia. Legalising assisted suicide would put pressure on patients to kill themselves because they do not want to be a burden. [Telegraph, 5 February] The Royal College of General Practitioners also opposes any change to the law. [Christian Institute, 5 February] The Care Not Killing organisation has written to all 129 members of the Scottish parliament asking them to oppose moves to legalise assisted suicide and/or euthanasia. It calls Ms Margo MacDonald's proposal highly dangerous and says it will bring about euthanasia on demand. Ms MacDonald has Parkinson's disease and wants to end her own life. [Scotsman, 6 February]

Two proposed measures threaten the sanctity of life in America, says the American Life League. Mr Patrick Daub suggests that the Freedom of Choice Act wrongly receives more attention than the Prevention First Act. The latter law would increase state funding for abortion and would deny money to pro-life medical establishments. It could raise annual grants to Planned Parenthood from $75 million to $175 million, and it would promote abortifacient birth control. The Culture of Life Foundation said the bill's supporters falsely suggest that contraception reduces abortion. [CNA on EWTN, 4 February]

Portugal was wrong to stop the Dutch abortion ship from landing there in 2004, the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously ruled. Abortion was against Portuguese law then but it is now allowed up to 10 weeks' gestation. Judges said that, when the nation prevented Women on Waves's vessel from docking, it broke provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights for freedom of expression. [LifeSiteNews, 4 February]

A doctor in England who is guilty of a patient's manslaughter has been given a six-month custodial sentence suspended for two years. Dr Priya Ramnath, 40, gave adrenaline to Mrs Patricia Leighton of Staffordshire against colleagues' advice in 1998. The judge said Dr Ramnath had been arrogant and grossly negligent but justice did not require the loss of her liberty. [PA on Yahoo! UK, 6 February]

Chinese scientists have cloned humans, according to the Cloning and Stem Cells journal. Researchers in Shandong created four blastulas using skin fibrocytes from healthy people, and one blastula from a Parkinson's patient's lymphocytes. [Earth Times, 4 February]

The Catholic church has explained that it did not sign a United Nations convention on people with disabilities "because the text lends support to abortion as a form of so-called reproductive health." Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the church's permanent observer at the UN, told Il Regno magazine that the Holy See had unsuccessfully tried to ensure that the document explicitly excluded abortion. [Zenit on EWTN, 2 February]

The head of Catholic church's highest court has said ecclesiastical law is clear on the exclusion of abortion supporters from holy communion. Most Rev Raymond Burke of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome stated that Catholics who, despite being formally corrected, overtly supported abortion should not be given the sacrament, nor could they worthily receive it. He could not see why the issue was still debated. The US bishops' conference said in 2004 that bishops were able to decide whether to refuse communion in such cases; Senator John Kerry was then running for president and seen going to communion. Doing so was using the sacrament politically, the archbishop told LifeSiteNews. The eucharist had to be protected from sacrilege. [LifeSiteNews, 30 January]

It is alleged that the father of a semi-conscious Italian woman who is scheduled for euthanasia took her from a clinic without permission. Our source uses "kidnap" to describe how Mr Beppino Englaro took Ms Eluana Englaro from the facility in Lombardy which is run by nuns. A clinic in Friuli-Venezia Giulia province has offered to remove her feeding tube. She could be dead in a month's time. The Italian Catholic bishops have said the intended removal of food and drink constituted euthanasia. [Catholic News Agency, 4 February]

SPUC's national director has pointed out how a British government campaign to discourage smoking in pregnancy refers to the unborn in terms which suggest they are human beings. John Smeaton, national director, praises a pregnancy calendar on the Smokefree website. It describes giving up smoking as "the best decision you can make for you and your growing baby." John writes: "Exactly the same Government which focuses on the humanity of unborn babies, starting with fertilisation, in order to target mothers who find it tough to stop smoking, is also targeting mothers in order to offer to have their babies killed." [John Smeaton, 4 February] John is boycotting a fundraising appeal for the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales because the service approves of a government programme which enables pupils under 16 to get abortion and birth control in secret. [John Smeaton, 6 February]

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