The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has expressed its condolences to the Schiavo family following the death of Terri Schiavo in the USA yesterday, and warned that the British Parliament is on the brink of enshrining Schiavo-like killings in statute law if it passes the Mental Capacity Bill next week. Terri, 41, who had been a coma-like state for over ten years after suffering a heart attack, died 14 days after a court ruled that her feeding tubes should be removed. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "The heartfelt condolences of the thousands of SPUC's members go out to Mrs Schiavo's family at the sad news of Terri's death. SPUC has continued to fight for patients in the UK like Terri since Tony Bland, a patient in a similar condition, was also killed by judicial fiat in 1993. "Not only will the Mental Capacity Bill enshrine the principles of the 1993 Bland judgement in statute law, it will extend them to all mentally-incapacitated patients. "Deliberate killing by dehydration has become more prevalent since the 1993 Bland judgement. The Government is determined not to accept any amendment which would overturn the Bland judgement. The Bland judgement opened the door for doctors to dehydrate and starve to death certain mentally incapacitated patients. "What the Government clearly intends to do, through advance decisions, lasting powers of attorney and the re-definition of 'best interests' and 'medical treatment', is to extend the principles of the Bland decision to all mentally incapacitated patients. The failure to address this problem will have profound repercussions. The passage of the Bill will mean that doctors will be forced to choose between killing some of their patients and leaving the profession. It will destroy what is left of medical ethics in this country", concluded Mr Smeaton.
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