What Covid-19 has revealed about euthanasia

There has not been, in living memory, more focus on healthcare, the vital role of doctors, the sacrifices made by nurses, and the wonderful efforts of everyone involved in the sector. Amid the coronavirus crisis, daily heroism, the scale of human loss, and the awful scenes in hospitals underline what is important – and what is not.

It will surprise some that in the Netherlands, the only dedicated clinic providing euthanasia and assisted suicide has closed. Euthanasia Expertise Centre (formerly known as End of Life Clinic) has suspended all euthanasia procedures. The clinic’s website says that existing procedures have been put on hold and new patients are no longer admitted. The centre – which in 2019 alone ended the lives of 898 patients suffering from cancers, psychiatric problems, early on-set dementia, and accumulated age-related complaints – is willing to make an exception only for those expected to die soon and those who may soon lose their capacity for decision-making.

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High time to limit our eugenicist society, says ANN WIDDECOMBE

From 1988 till 1990 there was a concerted effort in Parliament to prevent abortion for Down’s Syndrome. The response sadly was to allow it up to birth itself where previously the upper limit had been 28 weeks.

Concerned also that allowing abortion for disability up to birth could cover conditions such as club foot or cleft palate, the pro-life lobby worked hard to legislate to have the disability specified on the form but again failed in a tied vote. Now, at last, another effort is being made, albeit outside Parliament, to have the law changed. 

It is being spearheaded by two women, one of whom has Down’s and another who has a child with the condition. 

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Mum of Down’s syndrome Belfast boy urges PM not to allow abortions over condition

The mother of a seven-year-old Belfast boy with Down’s syndrome has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to introduce abortion for babies with the condition here.

Nicola Woods (34) is one of more than 1,000 people who have signed an open letter to Mr Johnson as new figures show there were 710 late-term abortions for Down’s syndrome in England and Wales over the last 10 years.

Figures from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland show that while 52 children with Down’s syndrome were born in 2016, in the same year only one child from here with the condition was aborted in England and Wales.

The letter has been backed by the Don’t Screen Us Out community, a coalition of advocacy groups, who are concerned about the scope of the Northern Ireland regulations and the impact on families with Down’s syndrome children.

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The disturbing treatment of a pro-life student midwife

A student midwife was in the news last week after her involvement with a pro-life student society led to her fitness to practise being investigated. After being suspended from her hospital placements for almost four months, Julia Rynkiewicz was cleared of any wrongdoing and has now lodged a formal complaint with the University of Nottingham about her treatment during the process.

While you might have thought that a deep care for unborn children would be in a midwife’s job description, apparently such views can now imperil a career in delivering babies into the world. Midwives and other medical professionals are of course subject to regulation and are expected to uphold professional standards, but the prospect of a student’s fitness to practice being called into question for merely being publicly associated with a pro-life student group is chilling.

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