Sexual abuse by WHO staff in DRC Ebola epidemic shattered community trust

Fighting Ebola in the DRC / Médecins Sans Frontières 

Trust is emerging as an ethical pillar for medicine. Not that it was overlooked in the past, but it has been shaken so often in recent times. Lack of trust is one of the main reasons for vaccine hesitancy in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today an editorial in The Lancet laments well-founded allegations of sexual abuse by staff of the World Health Organization working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo an Ebola epidemic between August 2018 and June 2020. “The trust people place in WHO to do the… MORE

Bioethicist group supports vaccine mandates

A leading association of bioethicists has come squarely behind the idea of mandated vaccination. A statement issued by the Association of Bioethics Program Directors (ABPD) declared that “To protect the health, safety and future prosperity of humankind, mandated vaccination is now necessary.” It was supported by two-thirds of ABPD members.

There are about 100 members.

In an explanatory note, well-known bioethicist Art Caplan said that “I fervently hope the position statement from an organization representing moral expertise in matters of health care ethics will counter flawed moral objections to vaccine mandates so that the threat from Covid-19 can be… MORE

Bioethicist refuses to comply with vaccine mandate

Aaron Kheriaty 

Not all doctors – or bioethicists -- support vaccine mandates. Internationally, prevalence of Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in healthcare workers ranges from 4.3 to 72%. The average is 23%. A study in Italy that found that 33% of health workers were unsure or did not intend to vaccinate.

The association for Australian general practitioners (RACGP) issued a position statement strongly backing mandatory vaccination last month. As an example of the scepticism with which some of its members regard the idea, read the comments beneath an article in the RACGP news magazine. One… MORE

Need a kidney? No deal, unless you’re vaccinated

A Colorado hospital has refused transplant surgery to a woman who is unwilling to have the Covid-19 vaccine. Leilani Lutali, 56, is a born-again Christian of no particular denomination, who believes that the vaccines are morally compromised because foetal cell lines were used in developing some vaccines.

Her hospital, UCHealth, informed her that she would be “inactivated” on a kidney transplant waiting list unless she were vaccinated within 30 days. A spokesman, Dan Weaver, explained that other transplant centres in the United States have adopted similar policies or will soon do so.

According to the Washington Post, “Weaver… MORE

Antiquated Belmont principles must be scrapped, say bioethicists

Three generations of Havasupai members demonstrate against uranium mining

In order to cater for the needs of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, the principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice should be scrapped, according to an editorial in the American Journal of Bioethics.

These principles were created for Western-oriented people without a strong sense of community. But AI/AN people are much more oriented toward communitarian decision-making and the autonomy-based Belmont principles are proving inadequate.

An example to which bioethical observers return again and again is the abuse of blood samples belonging to the Havasupai tribe,… MORE

Covid religious exemptions in the US are a tangled mess

Rev Jackson Lahmeyer at Sheridan Church

Many Americans who refuse to be vaccinated request an exemption because of their religious beliefs. A blog post in The Hastings Center Report throws cold water on their claims.

Bernard Prusak, a philosopher at Kings College, in Wilkes-Barr, Pennsylvania, points out that “This latest conscience war within our culture wars presents a minefield of legal and philosophical complexities for states and health care systems that want to take a hard line against religious exemptions, whether by excluding them altogether or by scrutinizing requests for them closely.”

Here is an only-in-America example… MORE

‘The Lancet’ enters the transgender word wars

The word “bizarre” is becoming increasingly shop-worn in articles about the transgender movement, but it’s difficult to find a more accurate and less offensive synonym. The latest incident concerns the hitherto inoffensive word “woman”.

This week the American Civil Liberties Union was pinged for censoring texts from the late Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon Ruth Ginsberg. In tweeting snippets from some of her writing, the ACLU substituted the word “women” with the gender-neutral word “people”. There was an outcry and the ACLU vowed never to do it again.

More creative substitutions under the banner of trans-inclusive language have… MORE

‘Science’ apologises for complicity in spreading the philosophy of eugenics

The logo of the Second International Eugenics Congress

This year marks the centenary of the Second International Eugenics Congress in 1921, an event supported by the best and brightest of American scientists of the early 20th Century. The opening address was given by Henry Osborne, the president of the American Museum of Natural History for 25 years. He declared that the terrible losses of the First World War made eugenics all the more necessary. “In certain parts of Europe the worst elements of society have gained ascendancy and threaten the destruction of the best.”

The Congress was… MORE

UK court upholds legality of aborting Down Syndrome babies

A woman with Down syndrome lost a court challenge against the UK government last week contesting the legality of abortion up until birth of a foetus with her condition.

Heidi Crowter, 26, and two others sued the Department of Health and Social, arguing that part of the Abortion Act is discriminatory and violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

Abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are permitted up till 24 weeks of pregnancy. But if there is “a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”,… MORE

An even darker side to fertility fraud in the 60s and 70s

Dispatches from the Reproductive Revolution. Fertility fraud is becoming a ho-hum story, but just for the record, a woman in Louisville, Kentucky, discovered recently that her mother’s gynaecologist, Dr Marvin Yussman. used his own sperm when she requested artificial insemination back in 1975. Using online genealogy sites, Erin Crowder has discovered that she has at least seven half-siblings. Her mother, Susan Crowder, 73, called Yussman’s conduct “unconscionable and depraved”.

Dr Yussman, now retired, has admitted to using his own sperm to inseminate patients "about a half a dozen times."

Dr Jody Madeira, an expert in fertility fraud at Indiana… MORE

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