News Roundup

Scottish politicians told ‘assisted dying’ Bill can never be made safe

Vocal warnings have been issued to Members of the Scottish Parliament [MSPs] that assisted suicide legislation can never be made safe.

Dr Miro Griffiths, an expert advisor on disability and spokesman for the Better Way campaign made the comments in opposition to Canadian experts who argue the law in their land is “working well”.

Dr Griffiths said: ” Assisted dying campaigners say that a Scottish system would be different to Canada – stricter and more limited, like Australia and New Zealand.

“The problem with this assertion is that in other nations where the practice is legal, supporters said the same thing. Intention does not necessarily match outcome – and with this issue, it never does”.

“Canada’s law was meant to be narrow and strict. ‘Assisted dying’ was initially for people with terminal illnesses whose deaths were deemed ‘reasonably foreseeable’. However, it quickly became permissive. Disabled people whose deaths are not ‘reasonably foreseeable’ are now eligible. From next year, people with mental illnesses will be eligible as well.

She added that a similar story of expansion can be seen in Belgium and the Netherlands – countries with long-standing euthanasia laws while Switzerland grows more permissive year on year. In California, “assisted deaths have climbed significantly after a mandatory waiting period was cut by 13 days”.

“The direction of travel is always easier access, for more people”, she concluded.


UK: Half of all ‘Generation Z’ pregnancies now end in abortion

Almost half of pregnancies among 15-24 year-olds in Britain – the so-called ‘Generation Z’ – end in abortion according to a new analysis.

Using data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics, researcher Kevin Duffy says that in 2012, 34% of viable pregnancies for the15–24-year-old cohort ended in abortion; by 2021 this proportion had risen to 45%.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has only released abortion data for the first six months of 2022, but extrapolated to a full year, shows that half of all pregnancies for young women and girls below the age of 25, Generation Z, ended in elective abortion (approx. 88,000 live births and 88,000 elective abortions).


One in 10 Japanese now aged 80 or older

For the first time ever, more than one in 10 people in Japan are now aged 80 or older.

National data also shows 29.1% of the 125 million population is aged 65 or older while Japan has one of the lowest birth-rates in the world. In Ireland, around 13pc of the population is over 65.

The country’s elderly employment rate is among the highest across major economies – workers aged 65 or more make up more than 13% of the national workforce.

The country was estimated to have had fewer than 800,000 babies born last year – the lowest number since records began in the 19th century.

In the 1970s, that figure was more than two million.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in January that his country is on the brink of not being able to function as a society because of its declining birth rate.


Herdsmen Kill 15 Christians, Kidnap 32 Others in Nigeria

Fulani herdsmen on Friday killed 15 Christians in southern Kaduna state, Nigeria, sources said.

The attack on Dogon Noma village, Kajuru County came amid disclosure that such attacks have led to the death of 23 pastors and the closure of 200 worship buildings in Kaduna state in the past four years.

Besides taking 15 lives, the assailants also kidnapped 32 Christians from Dogon Noma village, area residents said.

“Fulani herdsmen surrounded the village in their hundreds, shooting anybody in sight; the attack occurred at about 7 a.m.,” David Musa told Morning Star News.

Another resident, Moses Ishaya, said he lost two relatives in the massacre.

“It is with a heavy heart that I notify you about an attack on our community, Dogon Noma village, by Fulani herdsmen on the morning of Friday,” Ishaya told Morning Star News. “The attack has resulted in the killing of two of my family members, who include our sister from Karamai village, who got married at Dogon Noma village, and the second victim, the daughter of my relation, Mr. John Zango.”


Big jump in persecution of Indian Christians

A sharp rise in the persecution of Christians in India this year was reported by New Delhi-based ecumenical human rights group, United Christian Forum in its latest report. It shows 525 cases of anti-Christian violence recorded since January. The figure was 505 in the entirety of last year.

In June, the highest 89 cases of violence against Christians were reported. The report comes at a time when India just finished as a host to G20 nations summit attended by US President Joe Biden in the national capital. Some 520 Christians have been arrested for allegedly violating stringent anti-conversion laws in various states.

The report also highlights 54 cases of social discrimination against Christians such as denying access to water sources. The Forum, however, could not record happenings in sectarian violence-hit Manipur as many places in the northeastern state are still inaccessible.

Nearly 200 people were killed, over 300 churches were destroyed and some 54,000 people were displaced amid clashes between predominantly Christian tribal people and Hindu-majority Meitei community.


Marriage a key driver of family wealth, says leading economist

Growing up with two married parents may be the greatest privilege of all, according to an influential US economist.

Melissa S. Kearney came to this conclusion after more than two decades worth of research on poverty and social inequality. She says there is widespread resistance to this idea within academia both for personal and ideological reasons.

Her upcoming book, the Two-Parent Privilege, published by the University of Chicago Press, she says in nearly all advanced economies, the share of people getting married has plummeted in recent decades.

Such trends are problematic, Kearney says, because of the lost economic benefits.

The reason marriage is so powerful is because two people combining their income, assets and time create economies of scale that can support families on a range of fronts, whether it be securing a mortgage or paying for childcare.

Research from the Marriage Foundation, a thinktank, previously found that nearly 90pc of new mums across Britain’s richest households were married.

This then dropped to just over 20pc when looking at the UK’s poorest.

Notably, children whose parents are married also tend to earn more than their peers.


Over 1,900 women did not choose abortion after three day wait in 2022

The effectiveness of the three day waiting period has again been underlined as over 1,900 women did not go through with an abortion last year, after a consultation with a doctor, according to the Pro-Life Campaign (PLC).

The HSE revealed there were 10,779 women who received a first consultation for an abortion in 2022, based on the number of claims for reimbursements by GPs. At the same time, claims for abortions performed totalled 8,876. This shows that 1,903 first consultations didn’t result in the final abortion appointment.

PLC spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said, “It’s reasonable to infer that the vast majority of these 1,903 cases were of women who changed their minds during the three day wait period. Most presumably decided to keep their baby. The 2022 figure complements similar figures from previous years, and offers a strong endorsement to the effectiveness of the three-day waiting period. This provision in the law gives women in the stressful situation of an unplanned pregnancy a vital window of time to reflect”.

She added: “It would be highly irresponsible to scrap the life-saving three-day reflection period considering the mounting evidence of its effectiveness as a small but significant safeguard which mitigates against the life-ending decision which many women come to deeply regret. Medical Council guidelines clearly state that a patient’s consent is not a once-off and shouldn’t be acquired in a stressful situation”.


Scottish Govt delays ban on ‘conversion therapy’ amid warnings it could criminalise parents

The Scottish government has postponed a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ amid fears it could criminalise parents who question their child’s wish to identify as a different gender to their biological sex.

Holyrood had promised to publish legislation by the end of 2023, but last week’s Programme for Government included no such legislation.

It has been replaced by a consultation which will not report until next year.

Long-promised plans regarding ‘conversion therapy’ in England are also mired in delay.

But the postponement in Scotland of the ban, which covers both gay and trans conversion therapy, is more surprising as the SNP has been much more forward in its support for the trans rights agenda.

The delay follows the row over Scotland’s attempt to bring in a law to make it much easier for people to legally change their self-identified gender.


Demography summit hears clarion call for pro-family policies

“Being pro-family should be a national minimum”, said the President of Hungary, Katalin Novák yesterday at the start of the Budapest Demographic Summit.

The biannual meeting, held since 2015, is a major forum where politicians, church leaders, and experts discuss the most important current issues affecting families.

The Hungarian President stressed that the ‘demographic winter’ that has set in in the developed world is now turning into an ice age, but if there are no children, there is no future. “The pillars of our lives, the foundations of our Christian culture, are cracking and crumbling, and if we do not take care of our values, which we believe to be inviolable, we will sacrifice ourselves before we become victims of the coming ice age”, she said.

The Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, also spoke at the gathering. She said that her government’s top priority was to bring about a major cultural shift in thinking about families, as Italy, like the rest of the Western world, is facing a serious demographic crisis.

She added that the Italian economy was facing a serious crisis, as the number of births had fallen, leading to a strong anti-family mood, and the image of the family in the media had gradually faded away, with individuals now appearing as consumers.


Huge surge in Quebecers availing of ‘assisted dying’

Quebec is on track to finish the year with seven per cent of all deaths taking place via euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“That’s more than anywhere else in the world,” says Dr. Michel Bureau, the head of the independent body that monitors the practice in the province.

4.5 times more than Switzerland, three times more than Belgium, more than the Netherlands. It’s two times more than Ontario.”

As the frequency of assisted suicide continues to rise in Quebec, he says he worries ‘doctor-assisted deaths’ are no longer being seen as a last resort.

“We’re now no longer dealing with an exceptional treatment, but a treatment that is very frequent,” said Bureau, head of Commission sur les soins de fin de vie, which reports to the legislature.

Earlier this month, Bureau’s commission sent a memo to doctors reminding them that only patients who have a serious and incurable disease, who are suffering and who have experienced irreversible decline in their condition can receive MAID. The memo reminded doctors that the procedure must be independently approved by two physicians, and that doctors shouldn’t “shop” for a favourable second opinion.