The Rasouli case, in which doctors from Sunnybrook Hospital are in conflict with Hassan Rasouli’s family over whether to remove his ventilator, was heard on Dec. 10 at the Supreme Court of Canada. Rasouli was deemed to be in a persistent vegetative state by doctors after suffering a post-operative infection that damaged his brain. Rasouli’s status, however, has since been upgraded from PVS to a minimally conscious state. “If doctors are given the unilateral right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment without the consent of the family or the patient, then doctors will become the sole decision-makers of what is considered to be an acceptable quality of life,” commented Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, an intervener in the case …  Saskatoon city council is refusing to back down after Ashu Solo, a member of the city’s cultural diversity and race relations committee with a reputation of submitting numerous complaints, threatened to take the city to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission over public buses that display the message, “Merry Christmas”. In the complaint, Solo wrote that the Christmas messages “are a forcible attempt at Christian indoctrination” … An editorial from the Vancouver Province tells pro-lifers to “shut up … the debate is over and you lost…Abortion is not murder, so get over it.” McGill University bioethicist Margaret Somerville responded that the editorial was “pro-choice wishful thinking” and that “a majority of Canadians can find some “common ground” regarding legal regulation of abortion” … On Nov. 30, the Nova Scotia legislature passed Bill No. 140, the Transgendered Persons Protection Act, which makes “gender identity” and “gender expression” protected under the Human Rights Act. NDP Justice Minister Ross Landry, who first tabled the bill, said during legislative proceedings that he hopes this will be the start of a “new era” where transgendered people “know their community will accept them without question.” Nova Scotia joined Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, and Ontario with special protection for individuals who self-identify as transgender and transsexual … 16 year-old “James” Spencer, a girl identifying herself as a boy, is now allowed to use the boys’ washroom at Clarke High School in Durham Region, east of Toronto, after successfully petitioning against an accommodation that allowed her to use a private washroom that required a key.

United States

The Supreme Court of the United States will hear two marriage cases in 2013. It has agreed to take up the issue of Proposition 8 in which lower courts invalidated a California law passed by ballot initiative upholding marriage as beting between one man and one woman. SCOTUS will also take up the case of the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 bipartisan law upholding the traditional definition of marriage. Last year, President Barack Obama directed his Department of Justice to not defend DOMA in court. Religious and pro-family groups say 2013 could see the “Roe v. Wade of marriage” … Senate Democrats have approved a defence funding bill that would lift the ban on taxpayers financing military abortions (unless the mother’s life is endangered), while House Republicans approved a similar bill with the ban in place. The two bills are now in committee, where the bid to extend funding to aborting children conceived in rape or incest received support from pro-life Senator John McCain (R, Arizona) … Fr. Frank Pavone received Students for Life of America’s 2013 Defender of Life award. Fr. Pavone has been the national director of Priests for Life since 1993 and is also the president of the National Pro-Life Religious Council …  Gay activists are outraged after an episode of the Dr. Oz Show presented both sides of the reparative therapy debate, a therapy intended to help people overcome homosexual attractions. In a statement, a spokesman for the show said that the episode was supposed to examine the “medical angles of reparative therapy and the controversy surrounding it” in response to the California ban on reparative therapy for children under 18.


The Council of Europe is attempting to impose abortion on demand in Ireland and Poland by obliging these countries to clarify the conditions of access to abortion. The legalization of abortion is a priority because it “has the value of a ritual passage into post-modernity, as it allows the domination of individual will over life, subjectivity over objectivity,” wrote Grégor Puppinck, the director of the European Centre for Law and Justice, and critic of the Council’s move … The principal sponsor of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines, Senator Pia Cayetano, successfully insisted that the government should ensure “a pleasurable sexual experience” for women in a debate over whether to strike the word “pleasurable” from the definition of sexual health. The bill would, if passed, would also require medical professionals and businesses to offer all “reproductive health services” irrespective of conscientious objections and use taxes to pay for contraceptive services.