Canadian parliament refuses to condemn sex-selective abortion

According to the United Nations, “around 140 million women are believed to be ‘missing’ around the world – the result of son preference, including gender-biased sex selection, a form of discrimination.” Ten years ago, UN agencies, including the OHCHR, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and WHO issued a position paper condemning the elimination of girls.

The UN Population Fund declared last year that sex-selection had terrible consequences for societies. “The rise in sex selection is alarming as it reflects the persistent low status of women and girls. The resulting gender imbalance also has a damaging effect on societies. Instances… MORE

Australia moves towards ‘assisted dying’

“Assisted dying” is on the way to make a clean sweep in Australia. Victoria’s legalised it in 2017, Western Australia in 2019, and Tasmania earlier this year. In South Australia a bill has passed both houses of the legislature and will probably pass in its final form later this year. Queensland’s premier is determined to pass legislation this year and will probably push it through the unicameral legislature.

Of Australia’s six states, then, five have could have “assisted dying” in place by the end of the year. MPs in the remaining state, New South Wales (whose capital is Sydney), will… MORE

Oregon millionaire wins court battle to be a single dad

Jordan and Cory in happier days 

Dispatches from the Reproductive Revolution 1. An Oregon multi-millionaire and philanthropist has won a four-year court battle to declare that the biological mother of his child should have nothing to do with their son.

Jordan Schnitzer, now 70, made an agreement with his then-girlfriend, Cory Sause, now 42, that they would create IVF embryos so that he could become the sole father of a boy. He already had two daughters.

A surrogate mother brought one of them to term and gave birth to Samuel, who is now 5.

The relationship soured… MORE

UK doctor banned from reversing chemical abortions

Dispatches from the Reproductive Revolution 2. At the request of a leading abortion provider, a doctor in the UK has been banned by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service from helping women to reverse the effects of their chemical abortions. He could be deregistered.

As often happens, this story is a tangled one. Bear with us.

During the UK’s first lockdown, abortion providers lobbied to send chemical abortion drugs to women through the postal service. They would never see a doctor; instead, they just took two pills and waited for the foetus to be expelled.

Some women regretted their impulsive decision… MORE

Is hope bad for you?

Photo by CARL HUNLEY on Unsplash

Is hope bad for you? A paper in the journal Psycho-oncology suggests that it is. In a blog post on BMJ, Richard Smith, the former editor, highlights research into the divergence between the optimism of cancer patients and reality.

The researchers found that cancer patients had “optimism bias, illusion of superiority, self-deception, and misattribution” which led then to have over-treatment and regret.

According to Dr Smith, the patients were wildly optimistic about their prospects for survival. The researchers:

studied 200 patients with advanced cancer or haematological malignancies whom their… MORE

UK court forces pregnant woman with agoraphobia to give birth in hospital

Doctors can use force to take a pregnant woman who has agoraphobia to hospital to give birth, a UK judge has ruled.

The 21-year-old had an "overwhelming" fear of leaving her home. She wants to give birth at home unless there is an emergency. But the hospital authorities argue that this is too risky. They want her to have her baby in a "planned way" in hospital, due to increased risk if she gives birth at home.

Judge Mr Justice Holman, for the Court of Protection, said his ruling was in the woman's best interests. "Proportionate" force could be… MORE

Victorian government refuses to create register for ‘informal’ sperm donation

The Victorian government has rejected calls to establish a register of men who donate through informal channels like Facebook.

More lesbians and single women are seeking to have children but fewer men are donating their sperm to formal clinics, probably because recent legislation mandates “open” donations permitting potential children to access their birth records when they turn 18.

Accordingly, donations sourced through Facebook groups and other apps have become an increasingly popular and cheaper alternative.

Informal channels are not regulated, making harder for children to establish their paternity. It also makes it difficult for authorities to enforce laws… MORE

Sex-selective abortion in India keeps claiming more victims

Photo by Frank Holleman on Unsplash

On March 4, 2010, The Economist ran one of its most memorable covers: a completely black page, except for a pair of tiny pink shoes with frilly bows the bottom. The headline was “Gendercide: what happened to 100 million baby girls?”

Good question. The answer is that they were aborted or killed, mainly in China and India, but in other countries, too. It painted a picture of a tragedy: the intersecting violence of lower fertility, more accurate pre-natal testing, and son preference. 

A few years… MORE

Stem cell experts relax call for abolition of 14-day rule

As expected, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has updated its guidelines for stem cell research. The marquee guideline is the relaxation of the limit of 14 days on how long a human embryo may be kept alive in a lab.

According to the ISSCR the update reflects emerging advances including stem cell-based embryo models, human embryo research, chimeras, organoids, genome editing and ectogenesis.

Even though these recommendations do not have the force of law, they are very influential and pressure will mount in key countries like the UK, the US and Australia to amend or abolish the… MORE

World Medical Association moots mandatory referral for abortion and euthanasia

The World Medical Association is revising the International Code of Medical Ethics (ICoME) to limit the scope of conscientious objection.

According to a WMA press release, “Workgroup members and observers representing more than 15 countries have reviewed the document carefully to determine what might be missing from the ICoME, what might be superfluous, what could potentially be organised differently”.

The principal change would be to make referral a duty for a doctor who has a conscientious objection. The current code says:

Physicians have an ethical obligation to minimise disruption to patient care. Conscientious objection must only be considered… MORE

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