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Vatican slams Dutch vote to legalise euthanasia
    The Church has condemned as an affront to human dignity the Dutch parliament's decision yesterday to legalise euthanasia.
    The bill adopted by a vote of 104 to 40 'violates the dignity of human beings' and 'goes against the natural law of individual conscience', said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls.
    The vote was also contrary to a document on European principles on medical ethics signed in 1987 by 12 European countries, he added.
    "The first problem raised by this law is a serious problem of professional ethics for doctors who must apply it," said the spokesman.
    "Once again we are faced with a state law that is contrary to the natural law of individual conscience," he added. He regretted that the Netherlands became "the first country to adopt legislation that divides legislators and public opinion, a law that violates the dignity of human beings."
    Meanwhile in the UK, Independent Catholic News quotes Dr Jack Scarisbrick, chair of the charity Life, who said: "This ruling sets back medicine a generation and is terribly corrupting for the medical profession. It is an affront to the hospice movement. A totally primitive response to terminal illness at a time when palliative care has made such great progress in other countries in the past 20 years.
   
AFP/ICN
   
30-Nov-00