UK government spokesperson for older people supports assisted suicide
15 May 2009
A government-appointed spokesperson for older people has reiterated her support for assisted suicide. Dame Joan Bakewell, the broadcaster, argued in her Times column that Dr Philip Nitschke, the Australian pro-euthanasia campaigner, should be welcomed in Britain. [Times, 15 May] John Smeaton, SPUC director commented: "[L]egalising assisted suicide and euthanasia will lead to more, not less discrimination against older people - fatal discrimination by those who think the lives of older people are not valuable. A true 'equalities agenda' would make the equal right to life and dignity of older people its top priority." [SPUC director's blog]
The Spanish government has unveiled plans to change the law to allow abortion on demand in early pregnancy. The new law would also remove abortion from the country's penal code. Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, the deputy prime minister, said the new bill is "in line with today's Spanish reality". [Irish News, 14 May]
The German Bundestag (parliament) has amended the abortion law to require compulsory counselling and a three-day waiting period for late-term abortions. The Bundestag passed the amendments by 326 votes to 324. [Jurist, 14 May] Similar measures have been enacted by some American states.
A poll in Ireland has found large proportions of public opposed to abortion and destructive embryo research. 51 percent of those polled were opposed to the Dail (parliament) allowing abortion and 47 percent were in favour of enshrining legal protection for human embryos. The poll was conducted in January [Irish Times, 15 May]
A French bishop has criticised government plans to allow embryo research. Marc Aillet, bishop of Bayonne, asked rhetorically: "How can we not discern behind this zealous focus on the embryo a violence committed against every human being and definitively against God?" The bishop was commenting prior to a national meeting on bioethics. [LifeSite, 14 May]
A private member's bill to legalise euthanasia has been introduced into the Canadian parliament. The bill, tabled by Francine Lalonde, would remove criminal penalties from doctors who help bring about the death of adults with severe pain or a terminal illness. It is the MP's third attempt to pass such a bill. [LifeSite, 14 May]