Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Venue cancels ‘Dr. Death’ Nitschke suicide workshop in UK: police alerted about Dublin appearance

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

DUBLIN, February 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Dr. Philip Nitschke, Australia’s leading proponent of legalized suicide and euthanasia, has been barred from holding a “suicide workshop” in Sussex, England, and may be barred from appearing in Dublin. Irish anti-euthanasia advocates have written to police pointing out that counseling suicide is a crime in Ireland and have asked the scheduled workshop to be shut down.

Nitschke had been scheduled to speak at the Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club in Eastbourne, East Sussex on February 21, to give a workshop on how to commit suicide. The club canceled the booking and a spokesman said that management had not realized the “significance” of the event and wanted to avoid the publicity of “something this controversial.”

Nitschke has already found another venue, however, and has announced that the lecture will go ahead at the Underground Theatre in Eastbourne.

Nitschke’s planned appearance in Dublin, however, might not go so smoothly. He is scheduled to participate at a public debate at University College Dublin on Wednesday February 16, and give a suicide workshop the next day at Seomra Spraoi, a radical leftist social organization that hosted Nitschke in March last year.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute has contacted the Dublin garda (police) commissioner, asking that the event be shut down.

The Irish criminal code states: “A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another, or an attempt by another to commit suicide, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.”

Nitschke’s workshop, which has been organized with the help of the group Atheist Ireland, is in clear violation of the law, said Uí Bhriain. In her letter, Uí Bhriain told Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, “This law was written to protect vulnerable people and, should the Gardai not enforce the law, this workshop will most likely result in the death of an Irish citizen at some stage in the future.”

“According to numerous media reports and Dr. Nitschke’s own website the workshop will coach people in how to end their lives, either by explaining how to obtain euthanasia drugs, or by demonstrating a step-by-step technique of covering the head with a bag filled with gas.”

Uí Bhriain called Nitschke’s lecture a “cheap stunt” organized by a tiny group of mavericks who “craved publicity.” Last March, negative publicity surrounding Nitschke’s tour resulted in cancellation of four venues.

Dublin resident Tom Curran says he formed Exit International Ireland after Nitschke’s appearance last year and says the group has 60 members. Curran told the Sunday Post that he had sought clarification on the legality of his involvement with the group: ‘‘I was told that the only way I would get clarification was if charges were brought against me.”

In her letter to police, Uí Bhriain said, “The number of people who lose their lives to suicide are growing year on year in Ireland. What Philip Nitschke is promoting is immoral, illegal and contrary to common decency.”

Last year the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine released a study showing that 51 people around Australia have died from overdoses of Nembutal, the drug that Nitschke recommends for suicide, between July 2000 and November 2009. In February last year, Nitschke admitted that his organization had provided information to people in their 20s who were terminally ill or “suffering chronic pain,” on how to obtain Nembutal from Mexico.

The Life Institute has urged Commissioner Martin Callinan to take action to stop the workshop. The group has also asked pro-life supporters to contact the commissioner.

After Australia’s Northern Territory briefly legalized euthanasia, Nitschke claims he became the first doctor in the world to administer a legal lethal injection. He is one of the world’s busiest campaigners for euthanasia and assisted suicide, having written two books, titled, “Killing Me Softly: Voluntary Euthanasia And The Road To The Peaceful Pill” and “The Peaceful Pill Handbook” that give advice on how to commit suicide.

In 2000, he announced his hopes of buying a ship that would bring the means to commit suicide to people in countries where it is illegal. His group, Exit International, produces plastic bags that he endorses for use in committing suicide.

Nitschke has said he is in favor of opening legal assisted suicide to anyone who wants it, to the “depressed, the elderly bereaved, the troubled teen,” and not just to people with terminal illnesses.


To contact Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan:
+01 6662018
commissioner@garda.ie


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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