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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News Summary 19 September

19 September 2016

The Pope at a neonatal unit, to emphasise the Church’s commitment to the dignity and defence of human life from conception to natural death (Photo credit: ANSA)

First child dies by euthanasia in Belgium

A terminally ill seventeen year old has became the first minor to be killed through active euthanasia in Belgium since age restrictions were removed two years ago.

Professor Wim Distelmans, the head of Belgium's Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, issued a statement confirming that the first physician induced death of a minor was reported to the committee by a doctor last week. Prof Distelmans said that the young person, from a Dutch speaking area was seventeen years old, and was "suffering unbearable physical pain." No further details of the child's condition have been released.

Read the full story here.

Protests in Poland against proposed stricter abortion law

The Guardian reports that "thousands" gathered outside the national parliament in Warsaw to protest a measure that would outlaw all abortions except to save the mother's life.

The proposed changes, which are backed by the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, are expected to be debated on Wednesday. A petition supporting the tightening of the law has attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

Amnesty International, which, since changing its neutral position on abortion in 2007, has led campaigns in countries including Northern Ireland to introduce abortion, condemned the proposals in a press release, calling them "a dangerous backward step for women and girls in Poland".

Vote on legalising abortion in San Marino set for Tuesday

Legislators in the Northern Italian tiny state of San Marino are due to vote on a draft law for the legalisation of abortion on Tuesday 20 September.

58 ministers will vote on the bill, which in San Marino is known as an "Instance of Arengo". This is not the first time such a measure has been attempted: "A couple of years ago, there was another Instance of this kind. They have tried again and again to legalise abortion," Enrico Masini, general coordinator in the service of life and family for the Community of John XXIII told LifeSiteNews. Mr Masini is hopeful that pro-lifers will defeat this attempt, as they have done in the past.

Pope confirms that co-operating in abortion is always an impediment to ordination.

Pope Francis has confirmed that co-operating in an abortion is always an impediment to ordination to the priesthood - whether or not the man was a Catholic at the time the act occurred.

A doubt existed that "irregularities" such as homicide, attempted suicide, or abortion, applied only to those who were Catholic, and thus under canon law, at the time they were committed.

Pope Francis affirmed the definitive interpretation that the law does apply to non-Catholics who have committed such acts, in a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts on 31 May. The letter was made public by the Vatican on 15 September.

Pope Francis visits neonatal unit and hospice to witness to sanctity of life

In an effort to focus on emphasising the Church's commitment to the dignity and defence of human life from conception to natural death, Pope Francis spent some time with newborns in a neonatal hospital unit and with terminally patients at a hospice.

The visit was a part of his surprise "Mercy Friday" visits during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The sight of Pope Francis in medical scrubs cradling a baby gained widespread media attention over the weekend.

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