New Zealand Acquittal Not Seen as "Pro-Euthanasia"

Killing of Baby Wasn’t Intentional, Says Bishops’ Agency

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, NOV. 21, 2004 ( The acquittal of a New Zealander in the death of his disabled daughter has stirred the bishops’ conference to counter «inappropriate comment» from pro-euthanasia sources.

«The man’s lawyer, the judge’s comments, and the jury’s verdict have clearly established that there was a lack of intent to kill the baby in the Nelson case, which is not the same as the intentional killing which takes place in a euthanasia scenario,» said John Kleinsman, spokesman for the Nathaniel Center, an agency of the New Zealand Catholic bishops’ conference.

Details of the man’s name and family details were not released by the court. The killing occurred in the town of Nelson.

A high court jury in the town of Nelson on Friday took only 40 minutes to find the father innocent in the killing of his brain-damaged baby girl. The baby was found dead in her father’s arms after he allegedly suffocated her when he ran from the family home in a distressed state, United Press International reported.

«We are talking about a tragic situation in which a deeply upset parent who was pushed too far and who had almost no support, snapped under the pressure,» Kleinsman said. «The father has stated his deep regret for what happened.»

The agency said in its statement that «all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

«The right to life is not dependent on a person’s health, ability or disability. Those who are disabled have the same right to life and protection as all others. In fact, in light of their vulnerability they require greater protection.»

Kleinsman added: «The mark of a caring society is its willingness and ability to care for those who are most vulnerable. That includes ensuring that caregivers and parents are well-supported at all stages of a disabled child’s life.»

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