LORDS FOR LIFE
In mid-February, Britain’s House of Lords unanimously rejected a call for England to follow the Dutch lead and liberalize their euthanasia laws. The Lords felt that any acceptance of euthanasia would, “place pressures on elderly and vulnerable people to request it,” and that it would be “next to impossible to ensure that all acts of euthanasia were truly voluntary.” The peers also mentioned that patients should have the right to refuse medical treatment and that doctors should not take extraordinary measures “which will add nothing to the patient’s well-being.” They also recommended that doctors provide suffering patients with greater doses of pain relief, even if the dosage should shorten the patient’s life. At the same time, the peers felt that greater attention should be paid to pain relief through the extension of the Hospice movement, which is already among the best in the world. The Lords were responding to two recent cases which brought the issue to light. The patents of Tony Bland, whose brain stem was effectively dead, went to court to get the feeding tubes removed. The second case involved Dr. Nigel Cox, who was convicted of attempted murder after giving a dying patient a potentially lethal injunction.
A researcher in San Francisco believe he is on the verge of discovering a pre-natal genetic test which will determine if a baby will be homosexual. Though many in the scientific community reject his study, reaction to it among the homosexual lobby has been keen. Gay and lesbian groups are scrambling to decide which side of the issue to support. Some claim that the test proves that there is a genetic basis for homosexuality, and that this should be reflected in civil-rights laws. Others fear that the test will lead to parents aborting their babies if results show them to be homosexual. Feminist and disabled-rights organizations have expressed similar misgivings about pre-natal screening. Feminists have spoken out against sex-selection abortions and disabled-rights groups have come out against abortions for reasons of genetic abnormality. However, it stands to reason that until these groups come out against all abortions, they can never be taken seriously.
OFF THE AIR
The African National Congress has been attacked by the Southern African Bishop’s Conference over its proposed health plan. Observers rate the Nelson Mandela-led ANC as the likely favourites to win South Africa’s first open election. The party’s recently released health plan proposes that all abortions be made legal. Presently, abortions are legal only in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s health is at risk… The French Senate has rejected a motion that may have gone a long way towards halting the unrestricted testing of embryos. The defeated motion would have defined the embryo as a potential human being. Observers say that the decision will pave the way for a wide range of unchecked embryo experiments such as cloning, sex selection or testing genetic abnormalities. The greatest stumbling block which proponents of the motion faced was that many felt that abortion rights would have been endangered… The state of Oregon may soon put into practice what pro-lifers always feared would happen if genetic screening became accepted. Oregon’s new medicaid rationing program plans to make huge cuts in the amount it spends to support severely disabled children. The state obviously wants to limit the number of disabled babies through prenatal screening and abortion. It all seems like a not-too-veiled threat to punish financially families who choose not to have an abortion. Can’t help but wonder why disabled groups aren’t up in arms over this issue… As predicted in Feb. ’94 Month in Review, President Clinton’s directive that all states must fund abortions for low-income women in cases of rape, incest and endangerment of the mother’s life, has brought a storm of protest. Pennsylvania’s Governor Robert Casey (D) has written Clinton telling him outright that he will defy the directive. Some reports mention that almost four-fifths of the states have laws which prevent them from funding abortions and may be forced to contradict the President’s order… Twelve American pro-life activists who allegedly planned demonstrations at the Winter Olympics, were deported from Norway before they had a chance to do anything…Word out of New Brunswick is that Allison Brewer, spokesperson for the proposed Morgentaler abortuary in Fredricton, moonlights as the president for the Coalition of Human Rights Reform, a homosexual lobby group. Why are homosexuals and abortionists always so closely connected?