May 26, 2024

Christmas break

Hi there,

The Swiss seem to be endlessly inventive, bioethically speaking. Their liberal legislation on assisted suicide has made it a small cottage industry. Not long ago they passed law declaring that goldfish had to be treated with dignity and could not swim alone in a fish bowl. Now they are set to mull over the question of decriminalising incest. I have a feeling that this is a proposal which will not make much headway, but unsurprisingly, it has defenders. One Swiss MP says, “”Incest is a difficult moral question, but not one that is answered by
penal law.” 

There were howls of indignation from conservative groups around the world who declared that this was evidence of a sllppery slope: first gay marriage, next polygamy, then incest. What do you think, and more importantly, why? It seems to me that many bioethicists would find it difficult to maintain the incest taboo apart from health reasons. 

This is not a very cheery way to introduce the last newsletter of the year. My apologies. We wish you all the best for Christmas and the New Year. Jared Yee and I will be on holidays. BioEdge will resume in late January.

Michael Cook