Home is where the heart is for Dutch euthanasia

There’s always something new that you can learn about euthanasia practices. An indignant letter to JAMA Surgery by two surgeons from a hospital in the Netherlands led BioEdge back to a 2017 letter in Transplant International about home-based euthanasia + organ donation. It’s not one of  the better publicised features of Dutch euthanasia.

Apparently many people are interested in organ donation after euthanasia, but they would still prefer to die at home. This cuts off a useful source of organs. These resourceful doctors, Johan P. C. Sonneveld and Johannes Mulder, from Isala Hospital, developed domestic organ donation after euthanasia as… MORE

For teenagers from hell, “compulsory moral neurorehabilitation” might be needed

Transgender issues for teenagers rank very high amongst the (very few) bioethical issues covered by newspapers. In one development, anti “conversion therapy” are being laws are being enacted in many jurisdictions, making it a crime to dissuade young people from expressing a sexual orientation or changing gender. In another, the shibboleth in transgender medicine is “believe the children” about their feelings on gender transition.

The message, therefore, is consistent: respect children’s autonomy. Do not direct their sexuality.

It comes as a surprise, then, to read an article in the leading journal Bioethics which proposes that young people with serious… MORE

Who are more moral: the God-botherers or the nothing-botherers?

A new study in PLOS ONE suggests that, while atheists and theists share moral values related to protecting vulnerable individuals, atheists are less likely to endorse values that promote group cohesion and more inclined to judge the morality of actions based on their consequences.

In many countries, including the United States, it is widely believed that atheists lack a moral compass.

To test this, Tomas Ståhl of the University of Illinois at Chicago, conducted two small internet-based surveys examining the moral values of 429 American atheists and theists and two larger surveys involving 4,193 atheists and theists from the… MORE

The Hasting Center calls for civics education to protect democratic values

A new report released by the leading bioethics centre in the United States, The Hastings Center, concludes that civic learning in the United States is breaking down and threatening democratic values. It’s another sign of bioethics shifting away from autonomy-oriented discourse about medical issues toward social justice.

As policymakers and educators consider how to strengthen civic learning and democracy in the aftermath of challenges such as the assault on the U.S. Capitol, the report, “Democracy in Crisis: Civic Learning and the Reconstruction of Common Purpose,” proposes four ways that Americans can help combat polarization and increase public engagement:


Beware of unscrupulous cosmetic surgery providers, says UK association

Demand for cosmetic surgery in the United Kingdom has shot up during Covid-19 lockdowns. People attending online meetings week after week are becoming distressed about their appearance.

A long feature in Esquire – not normally a treasure trove of bioethics information – says that “Meetings are conducted over video calls in which we spend the duration assessing the little window of our flaws, every blemish and hint of a receding hairline, while Laura’s connection drops in and out and Martin’s cat climbs onto his keyboard. In our harshly lit bedrooms, kitchens and home offices, insecurities and facial dislikes are… MORE

Is happiness a psychiatric disorder?

Photo by Mindspace Studio on Unsplash

At the bottom of web pages at the Journal of Medical Ethics are displayed six Altmetric attention scores – basically the JME’s most popular articles. The highest, with a score of 2948, is a 2012 article about “after-birth abortion”, ie, infanticide. But the second, dating back to 1992, has the intriguing title: “A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder”.

Admittedly, its miserabilism was satirical. The point of the author, Richard Bentall, now of the University of Sheffield in the UK, was to show the difficulties of defining a mental… MORE

A Russian woman wants 105 surrogate babies – and has the money to pay for them

from batumi_mama on Instagram

The Russian media has been abuzz with the news that a 23-year-old woman from Moscow named Christina Ozturk and her husband have embarked upon the ambitious project of having 105 of their own biological children. They already have 11 in their household – one which Christina had herself, and 10 in the last two years with surrogate mothers.

Mrs Ozturk met her 56-year-old husband, Galip, a Turkish businessman living in Georgia, at a resort in Batumi, where there is a well-established surrogacy industry. Each child costs about 8,000 Euros, but Mr Ozturk,… MORE

UK to begin first challenge trials for Covid-19

The first Covid-19 human challenge study has received ethical approval in the United Kingdom. Up to 90 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 30 will be exposed to Covid-19 in a safe and controlled environment to increase understanding of how the virus affects people. It is due to begin in a few weeks.

The first-of-its-kind study for this virus will involve establishing the smallest amount of virus needed to cause infection, which will give doctors greater understanding of Covid-19 and help support the pandemic response by aiding vaccine and treatment development.

The safety of volunteers is paramount, says the… MORE

‘Chest is best’ is the new slogan in trans-friendly maternity wards

Gender-inclusive language created a stir in the UK media recently when the maternity services department at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust rechristened itself “peri-natal” services. The changes in terminology were widely ridiculed as extreme wokery:

Staff were suggested to use terms like “pregnant women and people”, “breastfeeding and chestfeeding“, “mothers and birthing parents”. Patients would become “mothers or birthing parents”; “fathers” would become “parent”, “co-parent” or “second biological parent”.

In fact, the term “chestfeeding” is not new. Snopes tracked down a 2018 document from La Leche League Canada and La Leche League USA which encouraged… MORE

What about the welfare of the baby in a surrogacy transaction?

"Ad for surrogate mothers, Burbank, California, USA" by gruntzooki is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In debates over surrogacy, most of the battles are fought over the rights of the commissioning parents or the welfare of the surrogate mother. But what about the welfare of the baby? This is an area investigated by a Singaporean legal academic in the journal Public Discourse.

Seow Hon Tan, of Singapore Management University, says that surrogacy must not be legalised as it is not in the best interests of the child. She advances several reasons.

Epigenetics. Life in the womb can affect the foetus.… MORE

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