Saturday, September 22, 2007
Via The Independent (UK):
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, is under growing pressure to impose rules on a hospital in north London, banning doctors from offering contraception or referring patients for abortions.
The cardinal is facing calls from a lobby group to use his position as "arbiter of ethics" at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, a private Catholic hospital in St John's Wood, to insist on the implementation of a code of ethics which forbids any medical practices banned by the Vatican. These include IVF for infertile couples and amniocentesis tests to detect Down's syndrome in unborn children.
Campaigners said yesterday that they intend to ask the Pope to intervene directly in the dispute if Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor does not take the action they want, which includes preventing an NHS-funded general practice due to open at the hospital in November from offering family planning services, including referrals for abortions and prescribing contraceptives.