LIFE DIGEST: Swiss may allow assisted death in nursing homes; ...
WASHINGTON (BP)--Assisted-suicide advocates in Switzerland soon may have a new pool of recruits to their lethal cause -- nursing home residents.
The citizens of Vaud, one of 26 cantons in Switzerland, will vote on a referendum to implement regulations on assisted suicides for residents of government-subsidized nursing homes, according to the Daily Mail, a British newspaper. Vaud voters approved in 2009 an earlier referendum to enact such a law and now need only to pass the guidelines to enforce the measure.
Holding a public referendum on such an issue is "disgraceful," said Jerome Azau, director of a nursing home in Lausanne, the capital of Vaud, the Daily Mail reported.
"It sends a message to young people that they can simply commit suicide when they get older," Azau said. "It's unacceptable."
Switzerland permits assisted suicide. It has five organizations that aid in assisted suicide, including Exit.
The number of people who utilized Exit's services to kill themselves increased by 15 percent to 257 in 2010. according to swissinfo, a news enterprise of the Swiss Broadcasting Corp. In 2009, Exit aided in 217 assisted suicides.
The organization also reported its membership increased dramatically last year from 4,000 to 70,000 people. The huge increase came because of government officials' efforts to strengthen regulations of assisted suicide, swissinfo reported. People must be members of Exit in order to use its services for assisted suicide.
Exit only assists residents of Switzerland in committing suicide, while Dignitas, another assisted-suicide provider, aids people from other countries. Dignitas has yet to reveal its statistics for 2010.
'SHAME ON' FINAL EXIT, CHURCH -- The Final Exit Network and a Unitarian church in Knoxville, Tenn., should be ashamed for inviting 13-year-olds to a "death with dignity" seminar, bioethics specialist Wesley Smith said.
Final Exit Network (FEN), which supports suicide and assisted suicide, will present "Death With Dignity: The Human Right of the 21st Century" May 8 at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC). An online announcement of the event says it is for ages 13 and older.
"Shame on FEN," Smith wrote on his blog April 14. "Shame on this TVUUC for allowing children to attend a suicide promoting presentation.
"Children that age are very impressionable and don't necessarily get" the "mixed message" from assisted-suicide promoters that contends "suicide is good for some suffering people but not for them," Smith wrote.
PPFA SLIPS TOWNS, UPS ABORTIONS -- Planned Parenthood has abandoned 153 American communities in the last 15 years, even though its number of abortions performed continues to increase, according to a new survey by American Life League (ALL).
More than 332,000 abortions were performed at clinics affiliated with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That was an increase of about 8,000 over 2008, nearly 27,000 since 2007 and more than 42,000 since 2006.
Despite its departure from many localities, the number of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics increased from 304 to 321 in 2010, ALL reported. Of those, 165 do both surgical and medical, or RU-486, abortions, and 156 do only medical abortions. PPFA now has 785 clinics, which is its lowest total since 1986, according to ALL.
PPFA's strategy in recent years has been to build mega-clinics in large cities such as Houston and Denver. Last year, it issued a mandate that each of its 86 affiliates have at least one clinic that performs abortions. PPFA also is seeking to force small affiliates to merge with large ones, ALL reported.
ALL is a Virginia-based pro-life organization that tracks Planned Parenthood's activities.
NRLC PICKS TOBIAS -- Carol Tobias, a longtime political director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), is the pro-life organization's new president.
The NRLC board of directors elected Tobias April 9 to replace Wanda Franz, who had served as president since 1991. Tobias was NRLC's political director from 1991 to 2005. She previously was executive director of North Dakota Right to Life for eight years.
Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.