Australian state likely to legalize euthanasia
After a lengthy debate, the Upper House in Australia’s Victoria state narrowly passed a bill to legalize euthanasia, sending it back to the Lower House with amendments.
The bill, approved 22-18 by the Senate, would allow Victoria residents to die by lethal injection if they have just six months to live, are over 18, and have suffering that “cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable.” The bill has an exception for people with certain conditions, like multiple sclerosis, who could end their lives within a 12-month time frame.
The Lower House, which passed the bill by a wide margin last month, will consider the amended version this week.
Euthanasia has remained illegal in Australia for 20 years, but with the backdrop of Victoria’s likely success legalizing it, Green Party leader Richard Di Natale is expected to push for a national bill to legalize the practice next year. Meanwhile, lawmakers in New South Wales defeated a euthanasia bill earlier this month by a narrow margin. —S.G.
Activists walk free
Six pro-life activists walked free last week after their arrest during a September “Red Rose Rescue” at an abortion center in Alexandria, Va.
The activists, who include two Catholic priests, talked to women inside the center and handed them red roses attached to a card with information on local pregnancy resource centers. When they ignored requests to leave the facility, police arrested them and charged them with trespassing and obstructing justice.
A judge last week dismissed the obstruction charges, declined to order jail time, and gave the activists suspended fines of $500 if they stay away from the abortion center and avoid other criminal activity.
“Babies are dying, and that is why we did what we did,” Priests for Life associate Stephen Imbarrato said after the trial, adding he was “very happy” with the ruling. —S.G.
Conflicting buffer zone rulings
A federal judge ruled earlier this month in favor of a Pittsburgh ordinance keeping pro-life protesters at least 15 feet away from abortion centers. The challenge to the 2005 ordinance began in 2014 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 35-foot buffer zone law in Massachusetts.
Pro-life advocates outside the Pittsburgh center reported being able to speak with women and sometimes convince them to carry their babies to term. But they argued they could do more if allowed to walk all the way to the door with the women. Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the plaintiffs, said it may appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, a federal court in New Jersey nixed an 8-foot buffer zone in Englewood that barred pro-life speech near abortion centers. District Judge Susan Wigenton ruled the City of Englewood ordinance violates the First Amendment, citing the Massachusetts case. —S.G.
Sadly, anyone interested in committing suicide by suffocation in a sleek, 3-D printed pod soon may be able to do just that with Australian euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke’s newly invented Sarco capsule. The death pod uses liquid nitrogen to lower the oxygen level and kill the person inside—and doubles as a coffin. Nitschke plans to make the capsule’s design specifications available for free online, so that anyone can have one printed and assembled. —S.G.