Singapore sticks with old-fashioned parenting model

A gay couple has created a conundrum for the Singaporean government by attempting to adopt a child born of an American surrogate mother. The two unnamed men, both Chinese, aged 45 with high salaries, paid a California woman US$200,000 to provide an egg and to gestate a baby, who was born in 2013.

Singapore has no law on surrogacy, but has forbidden commercial interest in adoption. On December 27, Judge Shobha Nair ruled that the two men could not adopt the child, leaving him in a legal limbo. In a stinging ruling, she declared that paying the surrogate mother… click here to read whole article and make comments

France opens national bioethics debate

This week France launched a six-month long national consultation on hot-button bioethical issues. The results, involving scientists, medical practitioners, lawyers and the public, will help to shape a revised bioethics law, perhaps later this year.

The list of topics is long: from legalizing euthanasia to the development of artificial intelligence to organ donation to surrogacy for gay couples to genetic engineering. Debate is sure to be passionate and highly political.

Under President Emanuel Macron, the government has promised to update France’s laws on assisted reproduction, which currently limit the practice to heterosexual couples. According to France 24, “The restrictive… click here to read whole article and make comments

Dissent in Dutch euthanasia bureaucracy

A medical ethicist has resigned from a Dutch regional assessment committee for euthanasia over a law which allows non-consenting demented patients to be euthanised. For ten years Berna van Baarsen helped to assess whether euthanasia had been performed in accordance with the law in the North Holland region. She resigned on January 1. “'I do not believe that a written declaration of intent can replace an oral request for incapacitated patients with advanced dementia,” she told the magazine Medisch Contact.

Under Article 2.2 of the Dutch euthanasia law, a doctor may euthanize a patient who can no longer… click here to read whole article and make comments

Trump burnishes his pro-life credentials at DC rally

President Trump at a live broadcast from the Rose Garden / New York Times

If anyone were in doubt about where Donald Trump stood on abortion, his speech to the annual March for Life in Washington DC on Friday will settle the matter. Speaking by video hook-up to a crowd of tens of thousands, the President said "under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence and that is the right to life".

“Today, we focus our attention on the love and protection each person, born and unborn, deserves… click here to read whole article and make comments

Trump administration moves to defend conscience rights

The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the HHS’s Office for Civil Rights will handle complaints related to participation in controversial medical practices such as abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and gender reassignment. Federal officials said the division will allow HHS to "more vigorously and effectively" enforce laws related to conscience and religious freedom.

"Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren't enforced”, said Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights. “No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one's deepest moral or… click here to read whole article and make comments

Science and the abortion debate

Has science been a boon to the pro-life movement? Yes, says journalist Emma Green. In an feature article published in The Atlantic this week, Green suggests that, while both pro-choice and pro-life groups have used developments in embryology and neonatology to their advantage, the pro-life movement has been particularly effective in using new scientific evidence to shape the legislative agenda. After cataloguing developments in ultrasound technology and life-saving care for premature babies, Green states:

These advances fundamentally shift the moral intuition around abortion. New technology makes it easier to apprehend the humanity of a growing child and imagine a… click here to read whole article and make comments

Ireland to permit PGD

Fertility treatment in Ireland has been poorly regulated for several years. 

Yet the Irish government will soon introduce detailed legislation to guide the use of assisted reproductive technologies. Fertility treatment reforms are currently being developed in parliament.

Late last year the Department of Health released details of a general scheme to regulate fertility treatment. The government approved the department’s request to draft new legislation, and a parliamentary committee is set to make a series of proposals to Cabinet in coming months.

Department of Health chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said the new regulatory scheme will allow… click here to read whole article and make comments

President Trump is in ‘excellent health’

Like voters everywhere, Americans like healthy leaders. So the reassuring news that their President is "excellent health" was headline news this week. After a three-hour exam with military doctors at the Walter Reed Military Medical Centre, the White House physician, Ronny Jackson, said that it had gone “exceptionally well”. He will give a media briefing on Tuesday.

On the other hand, the news is not surprising. During the 2016 election campaign, Hillary Clinton’s fainting fit at a 9/11 ceremony in New York became another rod for her back, while Trump’s personal doctor declared that he would be "the healthiest individual… click here to read whole article and make comments

Rebuilding the tarnished image of utilitarianism

How utilitarian are you? Leading bioethicists at Oxford University, including Julian Savulescu, have published a nine-question survey which allows you to identify whether “You’re not very utilitarian at all.” or whether “You might be Peter Singer”. )Click here to take the survey at the Practical Ethics blog.)

The team at Oxford’s Uehiro Centre developed the survey, which is called “the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale”, in part, to help restore the badly dinted image of utilitarian thinking amongst ordinary people (although the proportion of those who have opinions on utilitarianism tout court is likely to be very small).

The philosophy of… click here to read whole article and make comments

Quebec nurses back euthanasia for the demented to the hilt: survey

An overwhelming majority of registered nurses working in Quebec nursing homes support euthanasia for dementia patients who have left a living will, researchers from Canada and the Netherlands. In an article in the journal Geriatric Nursing.

Euthanasia is legal in Canada, but only for patients who are competent, even if they had expressed a request for “medical aid in dying” in their lucid moments. However, this restriction is under pressure. After a man killed his demented wife, the Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services asked experts to study whether MAiD could be provided for patients with advance directives.

click here to read whole article and make comments

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