Italian DJ travelled to Switzerland for the Right To Die

Mr Antoniani, an Italian DJ, was left blind and tetraplegic by car crash in 2014. The DJ dropped his phone while driving and smashed into the car in front of him as he tried to pick it up.  He appealed to Italy President Sergio Mattarella for the right to die, and shortly before his death, criticised the country for failing to pass laws allowing him to do so.

“Finally I am in Switzerland and, unfortunately, I got here on my own and not with the help of my country,” he said, in a message posted on social media shortly before his death. Euthanasia is illegal in Italy, a traditionally Catholic country, but the law upholds a patient’s right to refuse care.

Those people who support Mr Antoniani said he should have been allowed to die in Italy with dignity. The BBC also reported on how his story opened up much debate in Italy.

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Tariq Ramadan, Oxford academic, says Muslims should reform their minds

An extended interview in the Guardian with Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan provides fresh debate about the state of Islam and whether it should adapt to modern society.

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Ten Things You Thought You Knew about Islam is the catchy name of the appendix of Ramadan’s new books where he states his beliefs about Islam’s need to change…

Ramadan explains that Sharia is a guide to ethics, not simply a legal code. Corporal and capital punishments are the result of a “brutal and literalist” application of it and should be suspended. His approach to gay people seems to be love the sinner, hate the sin – a conservative one in the context of very recent progress in the west, but hardly incompatible with life here, as millions of traditional Christians demonstrate. Islam considers modest dress for men and women an obligation, although not an essential one. Ramadan wants Muslims, particularly western ones, to think of themselves as absolutely part of modern society, and to push it in the direction of human rights and equality of opportunity. He is clearly frustrated by the reduction of his faith into questions of hijab or homosexuality by non-Muslims.

Let’s just clarify what Sharia Law is. It comes from a combination of sources including the Qur’an (the Muslim holy book), the Hadith (sayings and conduct of the prophet Muhammad) and fatwas (the rulings of Islamic scholars). People often hear of the gory elements of Shar’iah when severe punishments like having your hand chopped off for stealing are spoken about. Students doing about crime and punishment for the RS GCSE will need to know something about Shar’iah.

A heartwarming Transplant story

Organ donation is when a person allows to be removed, legally, either by consent while the donor is alive or after death with the assent of the next of kin their organs. Once the organs are donated they can be transplanted into someone who desperately needs a new healthy organ.

Ella Murtha’s mum Tish died unexpectedly aged 56 and Ella chose for her mum’s organs to be donated to help others.  Since then Ella has had contact with two women who benefitted and are hugely grateful for Ella’s mum’s organs. In total Tish’s heart, kidney, pancreas, liver, eye tissue and lungs were all donated, leading to successful transplants that doctors said saved the lives of four women and the eyesight of four men.

The NHS organ donation page has a really interesting run down of what different religions say about organ donation.

Natural Family Planning

Contraception is the deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation. It makes sense. Contra meaning against, and the end of the word showing conception. I am sometimes surprised when students can’t work that out in class. But maybe that’s because students don’t use the word contraception very often, instead just referring to a method of contraception: condoms. Well today in the news they are debating the accuracy of fertility apps being used by women to avoid getting pregnant, so as a method of natural family planning and contraception. It is based on the rhythm method (calendar method).

To use the rhythm method, you track your menstrual history to predict when you’ll ovulate. This helps you determine when you’re most likely to conceive. If you’re hoping to get pregnant, you can use the rhythm method to determine the best days to have sex. Similarly, if you’re hoping to avoid pregnancy, you can use the rhythm method to determine which days to avoid unprotected sex.

In PSHCE lessons we will be learning about relationships and sex education, and in Religious Studies GCSE students investigate topics like Infertility and Fertility treatment on the old AQA course and topic like Love, Marriage and Contraception on the new AQA course. So understanding the biology of conception and the menstrual cycle, as well as the facts about contraception are repeatedly useful to our learning.

Recently students in Year 10 have been learning about what religions say about methods of contraception:

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A sad story of a wife’s wish for her husband to be allowed to die

For 18 months PC Paul Briggs was in a minimally conscious state after a crash on his way to work.  PC Briggs, from Wirral, suffered a bleed on the brain and five fractures in his spine in the collision and was kept alive through medical intervention. His wife Lindsey Briggs told the Court of Protection in December her husband’s treatment should be stopped “given his previously expressed wishes” and he should be allowed to die. She was forced to go to court because the doctors treating him at the Walton Centre in Liverpool opposed the application to withdraw treatment.

Well in December a judge ruled in December that Gulf War veteran PC Briggs should go on to a palliative care regime at a hospice. This weekend he passed away, leaving the family devastated.

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A BBC video lasting just under 6 minutes explores some opposing views about euthanasia held by two Christians, whereas a BBC ethics page discusses this ethical dilemma and gives you the opportunity to see what different faiths think too.

‘People shouldn’t be ashamed of their fertility problems’ says John Legend

The singer John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen have always been open about their fertility struggles and today John continued to be candid when saying that they’d resort to IVF again in an attempt at having three or four more babies.

“A lot of people struggle with fertility and they shouldn’t be ashamed of it. A lot of people want to have kids and maybe can’t do it the natural way… I think people should do it if that’s what will work for them.” The photo below show John Legend, Chrissy and their baby Luna.

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What’s IVF?

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