Twenty cases of assisted suicide not prosecuted in Britain
LONDON, December 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Twenty people in Britain who have admitted to assisting suicides, a criminal offense, will not be prosecuted, the Director of Public Prosecutions told a private committee investigating the “laws and issues” surrounding assisted suicide this week. Since the new policy on prosecuting assisted suicide cases was put in place early this year, “there have been no prosecutions for assisted suicide,” said DPP Keir Starmer.
Starmer called the cases “difficult,” since they involved families in which relatives were accused of assisting in the suicides of loved ones. Assisted suicide remains a criminal offence in England and Wales, in theory punishable by up to 14 years in prison. But this February, Starmer issued new guidelines that said persons who had assisted suicides would not be prosecuted if it were believed that they had acted without a motive of personal gain .
Starmer was speaking at a private “independent” inquiry into the “laws and issues” surrounding assisted suicide launched last month by one of the House of Lords’ most enthusiastic promoters of legalised assisted suicide. Charles Lord Falconer was Lord Chancellor under Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, and is the leader of a cadre in Parliament who are ardently campaigning to legalise assisted suicide.
According to Starmer, in 2009-10, there were 19 cases where the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was asked to make a decision whether to prosecute. In 17 of those cases it was decided there should be no further action. One of those cases is on-going and one was withdrawn by the police. In 2010-11 there have been 14 cases so far. 11 are on-going and with a decision for no further action in 3.
Starmer added, “We did have discussion about whether we should use the word ‘victim’ or not in the policy. We used it because when you’re talking about the
criminal law it works well in describing the parties, but I know that not everybody would agree with that.”
Explaining the genesis of the new policy, Starmer said that it was put in place in advance of a public consultation on the law. The CPS, he said, knew that there would “be a number of individuals who might find themselves in a difficult circumstance during the currency of the consultation and we didn’t want them to have no guidance”.
“Parliament it seemed to us had signaled that not every act that technically comes within the terms of the offence need necessarily be prosecuted,” he added.
Falconer’s Commission has been heavily criticised for its pro-legalisation bias. The Commission, that is not a work of the House of Lords, was launched late last month after two attempts to legalise assisted suicide through democratic processes failed by large voting margins - 148-100 and 194-141 in the House of Lords in 2006 and 2009 respectively.
Last year, Falconer and his supporters failed to weaken the current law with an amendment to the Coroners and Justice bill that would have made it legal for family members to help relatives go to Switzerland to end their lives at the Dignitas euthanasia “clinic” .
Falconer said that his “independent” Commission would be a “serious and dispassionate investigation” into the need for a change in the law. The Commission intends to publish a report in October 2011 which it hopes will be discussed in Parliament.
Countering the “dispassionate” claim is the revelation that of the 12 members of the Commission, at least eight are on record as favouring legalising assisted suicide. The Commission is being conducted under the supervision of the campaign group ‘Dignity in Dying, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and is funded by novelist Sir Terry Pratchett, who has himself called for legalisation of assisted suicide for people suffering from dementia.
It has been heavily criticised for bias by disability rights campaigners. Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, said, “[W]e are deeply concerned that this pseudo ‘commission’ will not reflect the concerns and fears of many disabled people. When it is funded by supporters of legalising assisted suicide, and without a formal remit from government, we would question how independent this commission really can be.”
Dr. Peter Saunders, campaign director of the Care Not Killing alliance, said, “This so-called independent commission has all the appearances of a stitch-up and serious questions have already been raised about transparency and objectivity.”
George Pitcher, a liberal Anglican minister who has written a book against legalisation of assisted suicide, was asked by Falconer to give evidence to the Commission. In an open letter to Falconer in the Daily Telegraph, Pitcher called the inquiry a “sham,” saying it is nothing more than a naked publicity campaign to legalise euthanasia.
Pitcher said it is “difficult to see” how the Commission could be “interpreted as anything even approaching ‘independent’ or ‘dispassionate’”. He asks Falconer to reveal how many members of the House of Lords refused to give evidence and whether any of the Lords who oppose legalisation of assisted suicide were approached for membership.
To contact the Commission on Assisted Dying:
Secretary to the Commission and Researcher
+020 7367 6334
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life.
“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September.
“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote.
Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds.
The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again.
After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five.
“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”
“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.
Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.”
“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”
“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.”
“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.”
“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born.
The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well.
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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads.
The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution.
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.
“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.
But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it.
The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”
Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.
“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms.
“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added.
Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born.
“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.
“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.
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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.
“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.
"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.
That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.
“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."
Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.
All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.
On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”
Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.
At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.
But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.