News in Brief
Child’s Death Leads to Jail for Father
military panel at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska found Airman
Scott Boie guilty of attempting to kill his unborn child after
acquitting him of murdering the baby. Boie received a sentence May 2
of over nine years in prison, a dishonorable discharge, and a “total
forfeiture of all pay and allowances,” according to KTUU.
to testimony at Boie’s court martial, the airman asked his wife
Caylinn to get an abortion when they found out she was pregnant, the
Associated Press (AP) reported. She refused, but later miscarried
their baby from what she originally thought were natural causes.
friend told Caylinn that her husband may have been involved in the
baby’s death, she filed a report with military investigators. Scott
Boie’s friend, Senior Airman Ryan Bollinger, testified that Boie
ordered misoprostol—one of the drugs used in the RU486 abortion
technique—online and put it in his wife’s food without her
knowledge, according to KTUU.
defense claimed that Caylinn Boie’s “history of smoking and troubled
pregnancies may have caused the miscarriage,” the AP reported, the
10-member panel found Boie not guilty of killing the unborn baby.
However, the panel did hold Boie accountable for using the drug to
try to kill his child.
case, the military prosecuted crimes against two victims—a mother
who survived, and an unborn child who died,” said Douglas Johnson,
NRLC legislative director. “The killing of the unborn child was
prosecuted under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was
enacted in 2004 after a five-year effort led by NRLC.”
should remember that this law was enacted only over the vigorous
objections of the pro-abortion lobby—the same pro-abortion lobby
that seeks to pack the Supreme Court with justices who would
obliterate any shred of protection for unborn children,” he added.
Seek Parental Involvement through Initiative
support of pro-life Gov. Sarah Palin, Alaskans are planning a
campaign to gather enough signatures for a voter initiative
requiring parental involvement before a minor’s abortion. They hope
to have the measure on the primary ballot in August 2010, according
to the Anchorage Daily News.
parental involvement bill had been introduced this session in the
state legislature, but it stalled in a Senate committee. The
initiative would achieve the same ends, to have girls 17 or younger
tell their parents that they are contemplating abortion, with
exceptions for a judicial bypass or medical emergency, the Daily
Palin initially thought to sponsor the initiative herself, but said
that her foes would have charged her with violating a law that
states that “a governor cannot spend money or ‘provide anything of
value’ to influence the outcome of a ballot measure unless the
Legislature has appropriated money for that purpose,” according to
the Daily News.
“I got a
preliminary opinion from Law [Department] just giving me a heads up
that critics would certainly file an ethics charge against me if I
were to sponsor an initiative,” said Palin, the Daily News reported.
“So though I maintain I have First Amendment rights just as any
other citizen does, I won’t flirt with the notion of giving critics
more ammunition to keep filing wasteful ethics charges against me,
but instead I’ll volunteer to be the first signature.”
Palin’s signature, initiative supporters would need 32,733 more by
January to place it on the ballot.
Brings Death Seminars to Britain
Nitschke, Australia’s “Dr. Death,” began teaching suicide seminars
in Great Britain May 5. British authorities detained him at the
airport for nine hours after he arrived May 2, where he was
“searched, fingerprinted, interviewed and warned his teachings could
be in breach of British law before being allowed into the country,”
according to the Sunday Express.
death workshop took place in Bournemouth, where about 40 people
attended, Sky News reported. Nitschke encouraged anyone who was over
50 or terminally ill to join his pro-euthanasia group Exit
International, and promoted suicide “using an ‘exit bag’ of helium
and inert gases, drugs from Mexico, morphine and ‘peaceful pills,’”
according to Sky News.
also hawking a new “testing kit” that would let suicidal people
determine if the drugs they bought illegally over the Internet are
actually of lethal strength, the Sunday Express reported.
is an extremist and a self-publicist,” Peter Saunders, director of
the pro-life group Care Not Killing, told Time magazine. “He will
prey upon vulnerable people with these kits, and as a result they
won’t get the medical treatment and proper palliative care that they
chose the locations for his workshops to bring his message of death
to the vulnerable elderly. “We were aware of the demographic in
Bournemouth,” said Nitschke, according to The Guardian. “We knew
there was a lot of retired folk down here.” He also planned to hold
workshops in Stroud and Glasgow during his weeklong stay in Britain,
and will seek to give his suicide seminars in Los Angeles and New
York City this November, Time magazine reported.
Call for Inquiry into Patient Deaths
protests from patients’ families, British officials refused to
conduct a public inquiry on the suspicious deaths of 92 people at
Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire in the late 1990s.
Instead, a local inquest looked into only 10 cases, finding April 20
that excessive pain medication was a “factor” in five of 10 deaths
between 1996 and 1999, The Independent reported.
“Hampshire Police, Hampshire County Council and I all tried to
persuade the Government to hold a public inquiry into the deaths but
there was no interest whatsoever,” coroner David Horsely wrote to a
patient’s relative, according to The Independent. “Neither was the
Government prepared to assist with any additional funding for the
wrote in another e-mail, “The reason for the refusal was that there
were no matters of national importance involved.”
Department of Health officials claimed that a larger inquiry would
“duplicate work done, or under way, by the police and health
regulators,” The Independent reported.
families disputed that the local investigations are sufficient. The
doctor in charge of the ward where the patients died and who
prescribed the pain medication, Dr. Jane Barton, was never charged
with a crime after prosecutors said there was “insufficient
evidence,” according to the Daily Telegraph, although the General
Medical Council will hold a hearing on her actions later this year.
Hampshire police have also said they would not reopen the
investigation beyond the 10 patients who were the subject of the
inquest, the Daily Mail reported.
independent review conducted in 2001 that was never made public
showed that an “abnormally high” number of patients died at the
hospital, according to The Independent. “The initial prescription of
subcutaneous diamorphine, midazolam and hyoscine by Dr. Barton was
in my view reckless,” Professor Gary Ford wrote of one patient, the
newspaper reported. “I consider the doses of these drugs most likely
contributed to his death through pneumonia and/or respiratory
Of the 10
cases considered by the inquest, the jury found that three patients
were given inappropriately excessive doses of drugs that contributed
to their deaths, while another two received large amounts of
medication that was justified by their conditions, according to The
Express. However, the jury asserted that the drugs were given to all
patients for “therapeutic reasons,” meaning no harm was intended.
not expect this inquest to be transparent, honest or fair and our
expectations have been met in full,” the patients’ relatives said
after the verdict, The Express reported. “Extreme drug overdoses
were given without justification or logic that rendered our family
members comatose in a matter of hours and dead soon after, giving
relatives no warning or opportunity to speak with them.”
are asking families of more patients to come forward and demand
further action by the government. “Until the authorities really
understand and acknowledge what went on in Gosport, the families are
bound to be left with feelings of injustice, anger and mistrust,”
solicitor John White told The Independent.
Suicide Bill Proposed in Scotland
the Scottish Parliament Margo MacDonald announced April 24 that she
is drafting a bill that would legalize assisted suicide in Scotland.
Planning to bring the bill before parliament’s Health Committee
later this year, MacDonald’s proposal would allow “people with a
progressive degenerative condition, those who have been left
dependent on others following a trauma, and those with a terminal
illness and for whom life has become intolerable to seek a doctor’s
help in dying,” according to Press Association (PA) News.
Scotland, including those in the medical community, oppose the bill.
“Doctors are generally opposed to assisted dying because they know
that it is unnecessary since physical suffering can be adequately
alleviated in all but the most rare cases by appropriate palliative
care,” Dr. Calum MacKellar, Scottish Council on Human Bioethics
director of research, told PA News. “If Scottish society accepts to
legalise assisted dying it would mean that it agrees that some lives
no longer have any meaning, value or worth.”
obtained the backing of 21 other legislators to bring the measure
before parliament, according to the Edinburgh Evening News. The bill
still needs to be formally drafted, sent to a committee, and then
brought to the full Parliament.
Currently, the bill’s so-called “stringent safeguards” include
requiring that suicidal patients be “registered with a doctor for ‘a
considerable period of time’ before they could request help to die,
and they would also have to make two requests for such help, at
least 15 days apart,” the Evening News reported.
serious reservations about the proposals,” Peter Saunders, director
of the anti-euthanasia group Care Not Killing, wrote to parliament
members in February, according to The Scotsman. “Not only because
they breach important principles of legal protection and medical
ethics, but also because little thought seems to have been given to
their rationale or to the very real dangers that they would pose to
Officials Force Surrogate Mothers to Abort
mothers carrying babies for infertile couples in Guangzhou, China,
were forced to abort the unborn children, according to Reuters.
Three women reported that officials came to an apartment where they
were staying together and brought them to a hospital in late
February, the news agency reported.
crying, ‘I don’t want to do this,’” 20-year-old Xiao Hong, who had
been carrying four-month-old twins, told Reuters. “But they still
dragged me in and injected my belly with a needle.”
planning authorities in the area told Guangzhou Daily newspaper that
the three women were “all unmarried and acting as ‘illegal’
surrogates,” Reuters reported.
surrogate motherhood is illegal in China as part of the country’s
brutal one-child policy, it had been rarely enforced, according to
of the women told the news agency that her three-month-old unborn
baby was “surgically removed” from her womb after she was given
pills that made her lose consciousness. “I was terrified,” the
23-year-old told Reuters.
absolute crime,” Lu Jinfeng, founder of the China Surrogate Mother
web site, told Reuters. “By forcefully dragging people away like
this to undergo an abortion is a savage illegal act that violates