by Steven Ertelt
March 20, 2006
British Catholic Officials Launch Campaign Against Assisted Suicide Bill
London, England (LifeNews.com) — The Catholic Church in England has launched an extensive national campaign to education Britons on the issue of assisted suicide in advance of legislation that would legalize the grisly practice. The bishops have sent 500,000 anti-assisted suicide brochures to parishes across the nation and DVDs to every church in England and Wales. The move comes in advance of assisted suicide legislation Lord Joffe has proposed in the British House of Lords. Most Rev Peter Smith, Archbishop of Cardiff, told the London Telegraph newspaper the campaign won’t be successful unless British residents actively campaign against the law with them. "It’s all very well for bishops to be giving out instructions," he said. "But we need ordinary Catholics to go to peers and MPs and say we do not want this law." The measure is expected to come up again for debate in May. The church is working with the Care Not Killing alliance consisting of disability groups, medical organizations and pro-life groups.
Former Terri Schiavo Family Spokeswoman Starts Educational Effort
Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — Pamela Hennessy, a former spokeswoman for Terri Schiavo’s family and its foundation to help their daughter and disabled people, has started her own educational effort. According to the North Country Gazette, she has launched an Internet-based initiative to help patients assert their rights. Hennessy has formed the Partnership for Medical Ethics Reform for those who want to protect their medical rights and receive wanted treatments. “I continue to be troubled over the events of the Schiavo case, not just because I personally felt the circuit court violated Terri Schiavo’s privacy in ordering that ordinary care be withheld from her without proof of her consent, but because I now believe case law is in place to make the act easier to do to others. If the law dictates that you control your medical treatment and healthcare course, then you should also have the tools to advocate for wanted and necessary care,” Hennessy said. The web site is https://www.forethics.com.
Human Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advocates Award Lawmaker
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which is the top lobbying group for scientists and research firms that back human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, gave their 2005-2006 "Legislator of the Year" award to Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado.BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood stated, a former Pennsylvania congressman, said the group chose her because she has co-sponsored a bill with Republican Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware. Their measure would overturn President Bush’s limits on funding the unproven research. "Representative DeGette’s leadership was critical to the success of the bill when it passed the House last year by a wide bipartisan margin," he said. The Senate has yet to vote on it and pro-life lawmakers will likely filibuster the proposal if it does. Bush has promised to veto any bill overturning his policy. BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations.
Wisconsin Pro-Abortion Lawmakers Want to Repeal Old State Abortion Ban
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — On the heels of legislators in South Dakota passing an abortion ban, abortion advocates in Wisconsin are going in the opposite direction. They want the state legislature to take an old pre-Roe abortion ban off the books. Rep. Terese Berceau is leading the effort to repeal the state;s 157 year-old abortion ban. Even though Roe v. Wade made enforcing the law unconstitutional, it remained on the books. Pro-life groups strongly oppose the effort because they want the law enforced should Roe ever be overturned. Wisconsin would be one of a handful of states where abortion would already be illegal while most other states would need to put abortion bans back on the books. The old Wisconsin law requires 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for abortion practitioners who violate it.
Connecticut Considers Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank
Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) — Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would create a statewide bank for umbilical cord blood. A dozen states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia have already passed bills or taken other steps to promote cord blood donation and the establishment of blood banks. There are at least 20 public banks in the country, along with a number of private banks. In December, Congress set aside $79 million to establish a national databank of umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat leukemia patients whose bone marrow was destroyed by radiation and chemotherapy. They have also been used to treat other cancers and genetic diseases that affect the immune system. The bill would likely set up a bank at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The bill would also require doctors to inform expectant parents that banking their babies’ cord blood is an option.