If suicide is not a crime why is there a fuss when a handicapped or ill person wants to kill himself? L.B. Toronto.

For centuries suicide was a crime and anyone who survived an attempted suicide faced  severe penalties. Today, it is realized that suicide is “a cry for help” and the criminal penalties have been removed out of compassion for the victim.

However, the law still recognizes that the state has a legitimate interest in preventing suicide, and civil law allows the ordinary citizen to interfere (by force if necessary) to prevent a potential suicide, e.g., by hanging, shooting, drowning, gas, etc. Such interference in not classified by law as a breach of privacy, or assault and battery.

Pro-life legal experts have warned that if ever a supreme Court ruled that there was a constitutional right to suicide, or such a right was legislated by Parliament, then doctors and ordinary citizens would interfere to save a life at their own risk. The “would-be suicides” could sue for heavy damages because their civil right to kill themselves had been breached.

Potential suicides are badly in need of help—medical and other—but a “right to suicide” would effectively prevent their getting such help. To quote one expert opinion: “There would be no legal way to help the thousands of would-be suicides by first interfering with their suicide attempts and then assisting them to solve their problems.”

I am told that the Ontario NDP threatens to force doctors to comply with new abortion regulations would contravene the Geneva Medical Oath. Have you the words of the oath? M.S. Ottawa.

In  1948 the General Assembly of the World Medical Association in Geneva adopted a Declaration which reads in part:

“I will not permit consideration of religion, nationality, race, party  politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient.

“I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.

“I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.”

I am looking for a quote by the Chief Rabbi on the infinite value of human life. Can you help? E.R. Kingston.

I presume the quotation you want is from the Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobowits– one of the world’s greatest pro-lifers.  He wrote that, “If one life is construed as having infinite value, then one life is as valuable as many lives and any small fraction of a life has infinite value because any fraction of infinity is still infinite.”

This quotation can be found in an article “Medical Experimentation on Human Life in Jewish Law, “Proceedings of Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, New York, 1966.

The Rabbi was made  a Peer, and became Lord Jakobowits in the House of  Lords to the great joy of the Pro-lifers in Britain.

I am fairly new to the pro-life movement and I have learned never to say “pro-choice.” What terms should I insist on, and what should I avoid? L.M. Waterloo.

  • Pro-life: Insist on being called “pro-life” and reject “anti-abortion.” Pro-life people are working to protect all innocent human life, and we are against infanticide, embryo experimentation, assisted suicide and euthanasia, as well as abortion.
  • Preborn child or baby: Pro-abortionists use the term “fetus” to dehumanize the unborn child. Technically “fetus” describes a stage in the development of a human being, just as neo-nate (new-born) does, and as infant, toddler, teenager do. Expectant mothers do not talk of their “fetus”, and new fathers do not talk of their “neo-nate”, they talk of their babies. So should we.

  • Abortionists: Do not speak of Doctor X if he or she  commits abortions. Men and women who deliberately kill preborn children have forfeited any right to be called doctors.

  • Abortuaries: Never use the words “abortion clinic.”

  • Abortifacients: Many so-called contraceptives do not prevent conception. Their function is to prevent the “conceptus,” the new human being, from implanting in the uterus, thus causing very early abortions. So, use the term abortifacient.