Saturday, March 26, 2005

Brit Judges & Doctors Match The US

UK judges and doctors torture & kill the weak too.

Terri

UK doctors starve you to death much sooner than 15 years, and judges hold them blameless.

In NHS Trust A v M and NHS Trust B v H [2001] Fam 348 a hospital sought permission to discontinue artificial hydration and nutrition to a person, who in 1997 had been diagnosed as being in a "permanent vegetative state". The Court noted that Article 2 imposed a positive obligation to give treatment where that is in the best interests of the patient - but not where it would be futile. Discontinuing treatment would not be an intentional deprivation of life ...; and provided that withdrawing treatment was in line with a respected body of medical opinion, that the patient would be unaware of the treatment and not suffering, there would be no torture...

Hopefully, the folks involved will end their days in a hospice, where they'll be able to check "respected opinion" at first hand.

Late Term Abortion

Since abortion was legalized in the UK in 1967, doctors have terminated about 6 million fetuses. Until 1990, they were limited to 24 weeks from conception, except to save the life of the mother. Abortion was nominally to protect the mother's health, but doctors interpreted this broadly and about 98% of abortions have been for convenience (scroll to Lord Alton's letter).

Like most Brits, I went along with this. But I've always considered the 24 week rule sacrosanct - friends have a son born prematurely at 27 weeks; he's now a healthy and successful engineer.

In 1990, the lawmaker responsible for the 1967 law proposed a change to allow late abortion:

from 24 weeks up to the point of birth if there is a "substantial risk" of the child being "seriously handicapped".

During the debate, a professor of law at Oxford University predicted that the amendment would lead to eugenic abortions. Following this two lawyers circulated a cautionary letter to lawmakers:

warning them that an otherwise healthy fetus of more than six months could be legally terminated for having "a hare lip or a cleft palate". The author of the amendment claimed that the circular was "a gross calumny on the medical profession"; a leading Socialist pol said the authors should be reported to the Law Society or Bar Council.

Lawmakers passed the amendment and in 1991, two doctors aborted a 7 month fetus with a cleft lip and palate.

A woman minister fought to haul these doctors in front of a court. She was born with a cleft lip & palate which was easily fixed surgically and has a brother with Down's syndrome. She is concerned that others conceived today with similar defects will be aborted.

The legal/medical establishment won, confirming that UK fetuses can be terminated for minor defects.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it was satisfied that the doctors involved in the abortion on a woman more than 24 weeks pregnant had acted in good faith and there would be no prosecution.