Two news events, initially unrelated, send a disquieting message to those concerned with the diminished respect for human life in this country.

In Quebec, a woman found guilty of killing her autistic son is given a 23-month suspended sentence, despite the Crown’s insistence that a three-year sentence be served.

Admittedly there were difficult circumstances which led to the woman’s action, and it is proper that the justice system recognize these in imposing a sentence. Nonetheless the case represents one more example of the courts treating the disabled differently than able-bodied individuals.

What is even more troubling in the Quebec case is that the province’s autism society, an agency advocating the rights of the disabled, concurred with the lenient sentencing.

And when one considers the secular media’s spin on the case  that government cutbacks and the lack of support services available to parents of disabled children were the real culprits  the disabled are more than justified in drawing attention to what appears to be a two-tiered justice system.

As an official with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities aptly put it, “The murder of a person with a disability must be treated in exactly the same manner as the murder of a non-disabled person.”

It’s a lesson for all the parties preparing for the new trial of Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer, who ended the life of his severely handicapped daughter, Tracy.

While the anguish and hardship of caring for disabled persons remain relevant, they do not excuse a deliberate act of killing an innocent, often helpless human being.

And on another news front, we learn of Health Canada’s recent decision to approve Depo-Provera as a contraceptive in this country.

Bowing to years of lobbying and effort by contraceptive pedlars, the government appears ready to overlook numerous health risks in giving the green-light to this sad product.

Depo-Provera is already being hailed as another way for women to control fertility. Its supporters speak in glowing terms of it becoming as popular as the birth-control pill.

Not surprisingly, Depo-Provera backers do not dwell on the experience of many Third World countries. According to an official with Pharmacists for Life International, the product has not lived up to its press-releases and in some cases has been discontinued. But regardless of the potential health risks, any synthetic that interferes with life and promotes the contraceptive mind-set, should not be welcome.