Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Upholding life Down Under

Life | Australia blocks euthanasia in its territories 
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 8/20/18, 03:34 pm

The Australian Senate came within two votes last week of allowing its territories to legalize euthanasia, but multiple lawmakers changed their minds at the last minute.

The bill would have erased a 1997 law prohibiting Australia’s territories from allowing euthanasia. Sen. Steve Martin, one of at least three Liberal Party senators to swing the vote 36-34 against the bill, said his conscience would not allow him to support the bill “without ensuring that appropriate safeguards were in place,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Last year, Victoria became the first Australian state to legalize euthanasia, shortly after New South Wales narrowly avoided it. But the 10 territories, over which the federal government has more oversight and control, have been barred from legalizing euthanasia since Parliament reversed the Northern Territory’s 1995 law allowing it.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told me that a vote in favor of the bill would have made the legalization of euthanasia “almost automatic” in the Northern Territory.

“I think in the end, they had to make a decision, if we do this, if we vote this way, it essentially meant that the Northern Territory would once again allow euthanasia,” he said.

The Australian Capital Territory could also have legalized it. Catholic Health Australia CEO Suzanne Greenwood told Sight news this month that the dearth of palliative care specialists in the country made the bill dangerous. She cited recent data that showed only four specialists serve the 244,500 people in the vast Northern Territory, and six serve the Australian Capital Territory’s 401,737 people.

“We are gravely concerned about the potentially dangerous impact this legislation would have, undermining the medical profession, devaluing palliative care, and desensitizing public attitudes to suicide,” Greenwood said.

Schadenberg agreed, and pointed to the “lighting fast” expansion of assisted suicide in Canada shortly after legalization, the Netherlands’ euthanizing hundreds without their request, and doctors in Belgium euthanizing a 29-year-old woman who had depression.

Euthanasia often gets legalized because people think, “We can control it; it will only be for the few,” Schadenberg said. “Once you open up the door that it’s OK to kill, the only question left is, whom do we kill?”

Creative Commons/American Life League (file) Creative Commons/American Life League (file) David Daleiden

Volley of motions

Lawyers representing undercover journalist David Daleiden filed three motions last week in an aggressive attempt to cut short a federal lawsuit and allow him to release the remaining videos showing Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue profiteering.

The 2015 case brought by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) accuses Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) of illegally taping abortionists during two separate annual conferences. The lawsuit resulted in a gag order from U.S. District Judge William Orrick on some of Daleiden’s unreleased videos.

Daleiden said Thursday that the remaining videos are some of the most incriminating footage he has.

“It was just announced in December of 2017 that the U.S. Department of Justice is following up on criminal referrals made by Congress for Planned Parenthood and their business partners for the harvesting and sale of aborted fetal body parts,” Daleiden said. “And these tapes are going to be the final confirmation that Planned Parenthood and its business partners are totally guilty.”

His team is fairly confident they will ultimately secure a win and be able to release the tapes to the public. After the NAF dropped several claims in its lawsuit in July, the remaining disputes are between CMP and other California abortion centers and should be resolved in state court, CMP argues.

“The last thing I believe Planned Parenthood, NAF, or the abortion industry wants is … these cases going to trial where the public is going to hear the defenses and hear evidence of babies being born alive and being killed,” Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund attorney Charles LiMandri said Thursday. —S.G.

Facebook Facebook The Life exhibit at the Lambeth Country Show

A lifeless festival

On a Sunday morning in July, staff and volunteers with a U.K. pro-life group found their booth and materials dismantled at the Lambeth Country Show in central London, as festival staff told them to leave the premises. The group, called Life, has now filed suit against the show’s organizers, the Lambeth Council.

“The actions of Lambeth Council represent a grave injustice which must be challenged if we are to continue to defend the right to life of the unborn child and promote support for the thousands of women who need our help in crisis pregnancies,” said Life director Anne Scanlan.

Workers at the Life booth said they did not mention abortion to festivalgoers but talked with people about the beginning stages of life and offered support to women with pregnancy-related difficulties. The workers said they were removed because of complaints from people who disagreed with their message. The suit accuses the Lambeth Council, which ordered festival staff to remove the group, of defamation, breach of contract, and violation of Life’s freedom of expression. —S.G.

Doomed in Denmark

Echoing the news that Iceland now aborts nearly every baby with a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis, a Denmark study shows that abortionists end the lives of most babies there diagnosed with congenital heart disease. Of all the babies with the heart condition, 58 percent are never born, according to the study. That rate is 65 times higher than in 1996, before universal screening was introduced in 2004. The numbers are even higher for single ventricle defects, with an abortion rate of about 85 percent. —S.G.

Baby boom

The intensive care unit at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., is about to experience a bounty of babies. Sixteen ICU nurses are pregnant, and all the babies are due between October and January. Nurse Rochelle Sherman, who was eight months along, told ABC News, “I don’t think we realized just how many of us were pregnant until we started a Facebook group.” The nurses said their colleagues have been taking care of patients with conditions that could endanger the developing babies and are rallying to cover the rounds of upcoming maternity leaves. —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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