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Ethics

winter 2006

From CMF news - winter 2006 - Ethics [p3]

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Following the House of Lords Debate on the Select Committee Report on his Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill Lord Joffe announced his intention to table yet another bill under the same name. This had its first reading in the House of Lords on 9 November and is reported on briefly in the Winter 2006 edition of Triple Helix sent to members with this issue of CMF News. The second reading (debate stage) will probably take place in February. The Bill seeks to legalise physician assisted suicide but not euthanasia along the lines of the Oregon model, but we should not be fooled by these apparently less radical demands. If the bill clears the House of Lords it will then need to traverse the House of Commons but it is by no means likely that the government will grant it parliamentary time in this session.

Meanwhile north of Hadrian’s Wall MSP Jeremy Purvis has failed to get the 18 signatures from MSPs necessary to introduce his euthanasia bill into the Scottish Parliament. This was due to very effective lobbying by a strong coalition in which CMF members were very much involved. Since October the Royal College of Psychiatrists has launched a consultation to find out its members’views and a survey conducted by doctors.net.uk has found that 69% of respondents agree with the RCGP decision to oppose a change in the law.We responded to two major consultations in November.They are:

  • Good Medical Practice (General Medical Council)
  • Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (Department of Health)

Both submissions are available on the CMF website at www.cmf.org.uk/ethics/submissions/. Do pray as the committees deliberate.

Two new consultations to which we intend to respond are:

  • HFEA on Screening embryos for low penetrance genetic disorders (closing date 16 January 2006)
  • Mental Capacity Act consultation on draft codes (due in March 2006)

CMF has now formally joined the Alive and Kicking Alliance (see www.aliveandkickingcampaign.org) aimed at halving the number of abortions in the UK. Over 6,200,000 babies have lost their lives since the 1967 Abortion Act came into being; a number equivalent to more than 10% of the entire UK population. More than 200,000 babies continue to be aborted in Britain each year.

The alliance’s other aims include:

  • An immediate, substantial reduction in the upper age limit for abortion
  • Eliminating discriminatory abortion of disabled babies up to birth
  • Proper enforcement of the abortion law as originally intended
  • A prohibition of abortions for social convenience
  • A Charter of Informed Consent drawn up to ensure women are made aware of medical and psychological risks associated with abortion
  • A cooling-off period between diagnosis of pregnancy and access to abortion
  • Provision of compassionate alternatives to abortion
  • Increasing support for families with disabled children
  • Guaranteed regular reviews of the abortion law
Please pray for all those who are called to write and comment on these issues in the public square.

Article written by John Wyatt

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