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All articles in category Ethics

News

June 2019
News > Ethics

Abortion report undermines Northern Ireland devolution

A report on abortion law in Northern Ireland makes recommendations that will undermine devolution and bypass the Northern Ireland Assembly, public policy charity CARE has warned. At the end of April, the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) Report on abortion law in Northern Ireland recommended that devolution be by-passed, and abortion legalised in Northern Ireland in cases of so called ‘fatal foetal abnormality’. However, CARE warned that abortion is a devolved matter and has been the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly since 1921. Moreover, none of the MPs on the committee represent Northern Ireland constituencies, and the Committee was not even unanimous in recommending...

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News

June 2019
News > Ethics

Pro-life speech shut down across Scotland

A pro-life student university group has launched a legal challenge against the University of Aberdeen after its attempts at affiliation were repeatedly rejected by the Students’ Union, based on their policy barring pro-life societies on campus. According to the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society (Ales), the case is emblematic of a ‘disturbing trend across over 100 UK universities’, where reportedly 43 per cent have implemented speech codes and policies that limit religious expression. It also claimed at least 108 universities in the UK have actively censored free speech; or have done so through over-regulation. On the abortion issue, there...

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News

June 2019
News > Ethics

Beware of plans to regulate the internet, groups warn

Government proposals to police the internet by imposing fines on websites which fail to tackle ‘online harms’ have come under criticism from free speech groups. Five civil liberties organisations have written a joint letter to the press saying the plans, if enacted, would make China’s state censors proud. The five groups are English PEN, Big Brother Watch, Article 19, Open Rights Group, and Index on Censorship. They said there are fundamental problems with the government’s proposals. ‘Firstly, the white paper proposes to regulate literally the entire internet, and censor anything non-compliant. This extends to blogs, file services, hosting platforms, cloud computing; nothing is out of...

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News

May 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Royal College of Physicians drops opposition to assisted dying

The Royal College of Physicians has adopted a ‘neutral’ position on assisted dying, after a highly controversial ‘sham’ poll of its members. The college surveyed its 36,000 members about whether the law should be changed to permit doctor-assisted dying. It found 43.4 per cent of respondents were opposed to a change in the law, little different to a finding of 44.4 per cent when the poll was conducted in 2014. The number wanting the college to support assisted dying increased from 24.6 per cent to 31.6 per cent. Just 25 per cent thought the RCP stance should be neutral, a fall from 31 per cent...

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News

April 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Doctors challenge euthanasia poll

A group of four doctors has filed a legal challenge against the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in relation to a recent poll on euthanasia. The group say that the poll is being conducted in a misleading way and is aiming to force the Royal College to abandon its longstanding opposition to euthanasia. The RCP controversially announced that it would change its stance on euthanasia to ‘neutral’ unless sixty per cent of members or more were opposed. The four doctors have said this move is unlawful and have launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the legal challenge.

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News

March 2019
News > Ethics

Netherlands: Quarter of all deaths ‘induced’

Fifteen years after euthanasia was legalised in the Netherlands, over a quarter of all deaths in 2017 were ‘induced’, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper. In the report, journalist Christopher de Bellaigue traces the history of euthanasia in the Netherlands from when it was introduced for extreme cases to now being applied more freely. ‘The process of bringing in euthanasia legislation began with a desire to deal with the most heart-breaking cases — really terrible forms of death’, said Theo Boer, who teaches ethics at the Theological University of Kampen. ‘But there have been important changes in the way the law is applied....

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News

March 2019
News > Ethics

Woman launches court case to liberalise abortion law in NI

Abortion activist Sarah Ewart has started a court case to force the liberalisation of the abortion law in Northern Ireland. She has launched a judicial review of the legislation in Northern Ireland, and the case will be ruled upon by judges in the High Court. It comes after a previous Supreme Court appeal, led by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), failed last year. In that case, the judges said Northern Ireland’s ban on abortion was incompatible with human rights laws in the case of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime. However, the case failed because the judges said the NIHRC did not have...

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News

March 2019
News > Ethics

Ashers bakery will not seek costs over ‘gay cake’ case

The owners of Ashers bakery in Northern Ireland say they won’t seek to recover legal costs from those who pursued them in the courts. The bakery’s backers, The Christian Institute, said Ashers do not wish to set a precedent which may damage other religious liberty cases in the future. And the Institute also says that by not seeking costs, Ashers are being consistent with arguments made at earlier stages of their legal case. The case centred on whether the Christian owners of the bakery could be forced to provide a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’. When the case first went to trial, the...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > Persecution > Religious liberty > Society

Christian magistrate can challenge his dismissal over gay adoption comments

A Christian former magistrate has won the right to legally challenge his dismissal over remarks he made about same-sex couples adopting children. Richard Page, from Kent, lost his role after saying in a BBC interview that a child would be better looked after by a man and a woman rather than a gay couple. His comments came after Mr Page, along with two other Magistrates, considered an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child in Kent in July 2014. He was later sacked for ‘serious misconduct’ by the then Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas, who said his comments suggested he was...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > Family > Society

‘There was no way we could kill our babies’

A mother has explained how she refused to consider abortion when doctors told her that her triplets were not developing as expected. Katie Johnson and her husband Patrick were told at a twelve-week scan that their babies, Oscar, Aurelia and Oliver, had life-threatening growth problems. Doctors advised Katie to abort one or two of them to give the others a better chance of survival. She said: ‘There was a risk to all of them. Oliver was 25 per cent smaller than his brother, and the blood flow wasn’t getting to him properly. If Oliver died, Oscar could have died too. ‘But there was no way...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Ealing censorship zone to be reviewed by Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal a High Court decision that upheld a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) around an abortion facility in the London Borough of Ealing. The Ealing PSPO, which took effect in April last year, imposed a censorship zone that criminalised a wide range of conduct, including prayer, peaceful protest and the offering of leaflets. The PSPO was subject to a legal challenge shortly after coming into force in April of last year, but in July the High Court found that Ealing Council’s PSPO was lawful. However, the Court of Appeal has now agreed to hear an appeal. Laurence...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Abortion rate highest in 10 years, Down’s abortions up 50%

Revised abortion statistics published by the Department of Health (DoH) show that the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales is at its highest in ten years. The DoH revealed that in 2017 more than 197,000 abortions were carried out, the highest number since 2008. The statistics also revealed a large increase in abortions among women over the age of 30. The abortion rate for 30 to 34-year-old women has climbed the highest since 2007, to a rate of 18.5 abortions per 1,000 women, up from 15.1. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said: ‘Showing the extent to which abortion is...

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