Friday, November 24, 2006

Mencap: lives of disabled infants should be respected

Background briefing. As the SPUC report notes, Mencap does not have a good record on protecting the disabled from eugenic abortion; it is to be hoped that the appearance of pro-life diabled-rights groups such as Not Dead Yet has stimulated a re-think.

From their press release: David Congdon, Mencap's head of campaigns and policy said: "Withholding or withdrawing treatment purely based on a premature baby having a high risk of disability is unjustified. Disabled babies, and all disabled people, have a right to life and can thrive and live full lives with the right support."

From SPUC: The head of campaigns and policy at the UK charity Mencap has criticised the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report, which suggests that there should be a blanket ban on treating babies born at 22 weeks' gestation or under. He said: "We urge all decision-makers to value the lives of all our children, including disabled children, and continue to act in their best interests." [Independent 22 November] Alison Davis, national coordinator of No Less Human, SPUC's disability rights group, said: "This statement comes as a refreshing change in direction for Mencap, which has a long history of support for pre-natal testing and abortion of babies with learning disabilities.." The head of the Nuffield working party has spoken about how she came to make the recommendations. Professor Margaret Brazier recounted heart-rending stories she had heard. Because the procedures are invasive and painful and keep the babies isolated, when the chances of survival are said to be very small, she thinks it is kinder to leave them to die. [Sunday Times, 19 November]

For the post on the Nuffield Council report, see here.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen