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Defending life
from conception to natural death


SPUC Pro-Life responds to assisted suicide guidelines

25 September 2009

SPUC Pro-Life, which was officially represented in the Debbie Purdy case, has made a detailed response to guidelines on prosecuting assisted suicide in England and Wales. The group points out that the document, by Mr Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions, says prosecutions will be less likely in cases where the deceased had been disabled or terminally ill. This would legally downgrade the right to life of disabled or terminally-ill people and confirms disabled people's fears that the law deems their lives as inferior. The guidelines contradict the fairness and objectivity requirements of the existing general code for prosecutors and will be a useful guide to anyone who wants to promote the suicide of their troublesome relatives with impunity. They also go against the government's national suicide prevention strategy. SPUC Pro-Life will be encouraging disability groups, and all those affected by suicides and suicide attempts, to lobby Mr Starmer to enforce the law against assisted suicide justly and fairly. [SPUC, 23 September] Mr Starmer has admitted that his proposed rules could cause an increase in assisted suicides, including in Britain. Exit International of Australia said people from that country wanting to kill themselves might choose Britain in preference to Switzerland. Dr Peter Saunders of Care Not Killing warned that the rules could give the green light to relatives and friends who might benefit from a patient's death. The Multiple Sclerosis Society also expressed concern. [Telegraph, 24 September]

Malta has reaffirmed its intention not to liberalise its abortion laws. In the United Nations Human Rights Council's review of the country's human rights record, its government was described as saying: "that the right to life is an inherent right of every human being - this includes the unborn child, from its conception. We will retain our existing national legislation on the question of abortion." The Catholic church was reported as supporting Malta's stand, describing the nation as courageous. Pat Buckley has this week been representing SPUC at the council's meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. [John Smeaton, 24 September]

SPUC has said that, when Pope Benedict visits the UK next year, he will find "the valley of the culture of death". John Smeaton, national director, said: "In Britain, the government organises secret abortions on schoolgirls behind parents' backs. The chief prosecutor has today issued rules tolerating assisted suicide, under which the disabled will be treated as second-class citizens. The leaders of the major political parties all voted for sinister destructive experiments on embryonic children. I hope that Pope Benedict will issue stern reminders to church leaders and Catholic parliamentarians of their absolute duty to place the right to life from conception to natural death at the top of Britain's moral and political agenda." [SPUC, 24 September]

Other stories:

Week of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion [Catholic News Agency, 24 September]

US poll suggests opposition to tax-funded abortion. [Zenit on EWTN, 24 September]

Debate among experts about need for population control to save the planet [New Scientist, 23 September]

Head of UK euthanasia group new assisted suicide rules as "momentous breakthrough" [Independent, 24 September]

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition concerned at England suicide guidelines. [LifeSiteNews, 23 September]

Scottish authorities say they won't copy new assisted suicide rules [Times, 24 September]

Space scientist with MS speaks out against Debbie Purdy assisted suicide campaign [BBC, 23 September]

Canada bishops oppose legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide. [Catholic Culture, 24 September]

Chilean cardinal calls on election candidates to make life, family priorities [Catholic News Agency, 21 September]

Dominican Republic defies international bodies over right-to-life law. [C-Fam on LifeSiteNews, 24 September]

Canada bishops issue pro-life document. [LifeSiteNews, 24 September]

Marrow cells used with mechanical heart to save patient. [Daily Mail, 24 September]

Anti-depressants could affect unborn children's hearts. [BBC, 24 September]

Stem cells could be taken from fat after liposuction. [Seattle University, 24 September]

Bioethicist laments lack of IVF regulation after embryos swopped. [EWTN, 24 September]

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