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Government bill against papal teaching

26 April 2004

Government bill against papal teaching London, 26 April 2004 - The government's Mental Capacity Bill is against papal teaching, according to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, said: "Last month, Pope John Paul II told a Vatican conference that the removal of feeding tubes from people in a so-called vegetative state was immoral. Such actions are precisely what the Mental Capacity Bill [formerly known as the Mental Incapacity Bill] will allow. "Although the government has adjusted and renamed the Bill, the draft law would permit and, in some cases, require killing by withholding basic treatment or care. "You do not have to be a Catholic to believe that it is wrong to stop feeding people or giving them liquids, even if they are unconscious or ill. Believers from other denominations and religions, as well as other people with a sense of justice, will agree with the Pope that such euthanasia by neglect is inhumane and wrong. "The Constitutional Affairs Department's changes to the Bill were cosmetic and will only serve to make legalised euthanasia by omission seem respectable. "The Bill demands that doctors must bring about the death of patients when required to do so by an advance refusal of treatment or care. This will be anathema to doctors trained to care for patients and pursue their patients' best interests in medical terms. Doctors would face prosecution for criminal assault if they provided treatment or care which, but for the advance refusal document, would be required according to existing medical standards." SPUC supporters from more than a third of English and Welsh constituencies will be lobbying MPs at Westminster tomorrow (Tuesday) and on Wednesday. Supporters in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be lobbying their MPs in their constituencies. SPUC will be putting advertisements in Catholic newspapers next weekend which will point out papal teaching on the withdrawal of tube feeding and urge people to oppose the government's Mental Capacity Bill as well as other moves to legalise euthanasia.

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