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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Former Ofsted chief considering suicide

4 May 2009

The former chief inspector of schools in England has said that he is considering committing suicide. Chris Woodhead, who was head of Ofsted from 1994 to 2000, was diagnosed in September 2006 with motor neurone disease. Mr Woodhead has said that his suicide is not imminent and that he does not plan to travel to the Dignitas suicide centre in Switzerland. [Daily Mail, 4 May]

Dr Philip Nitschke, the Australian pro-euthanasia campaigner, has been allowed to visit Britain again. He was questioned by the authorities upon arrival at Heathrow airport but allowed into the country. He plans to conduct a two-week tour promoting his book on suicide methods. Dr Peter Saunders, campaign director for Care Not Killing said: "Nitschke is an extremist who is on record as approving suicide pills for the depressed, elderly, bereaved and troubled teens. It's most unfortunate that he's been given a platform here." [Herald, 4 May]

The Royal College of Nursing is consulting its members about a change in the law on assisted suicide. Assisted suicide is illegal in the UK but there have been numerous attempts in recent years to undermine the ban. The college's consultation ends on 22 May. [Nursing Times, 4 May]

The head of an official inquiry has said that Britain's embryo regulator is "not fit for purpose". Professor Brian Toft, who chaired an inquiry into gamete mix-ups at a London hospital, wrote to Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer, saying: "The HFEA [Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority] should be reformed if it is ever to be fit for purpose". [Sunday Times, 3 May] Pro-life campaigners have frequently highlighted the HFEA's low ethical standards.

A young pregnant British woman could be executed in Laos if found guilty of heroin smuggling. Samantha Orabator, 20, has been held in prison since August last year. [Sky, 4 May] There is a long-standing international repudiation of the execution of pregnant women. [SPUC]

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