This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on May 22, 2015

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1. California Medical Association No Longer Opposed to Assisted Suicide

Earlier this week the California Medical Association decided to drop its formal opposition to physician assisted suicide, effectively becoming “neutral” to the practice. This is a shameful first for a state medical association and an abandonment of the Hippocratic principle of doing no harm to patients.

2. Vermont Governor Signs Physician Assisted Suicide Bill into Law

Speaking of doctors killing their patients, the Governor of Vermont made it easier for them to do just that when he signed a bill permanently authorizing the practice within the state. The bill cements an earlier version of a law that was passed with temporary provisions in 2013—and solidifies the downward spiral of the state’s medical profession.

3. Fears of Surrogacy Weigh Heavily on Ireland’s Marriage Vote

Ireland is slated to vote on gay marriage this week and many supporters of the bill fear that concerns over surrogacy will sink the bill. As the Sunday Times reports, a green light for gay marriage within the country does not yet green light surrogacy. But, as we’ve seen in the U.S. and elsewhere, it certainly seems to increase the demand. As we often remind folks at the CBC—and as members of the Stop Surrogacy Now campaign have joined together in saying—“No one has a right to a child, whether they are heterosexual, homosexual, or single-by-choice.”

4. Israeli Ambassador’s Surrogate-Born Infant Dies in Nepal

As we’ve reported before, Nepal has been a hotspot for Israeli couples using surrogacy—including an Israeli ambassador. The Times of Israel is now reporting that his son has died the day after being born. While many are using the occasion to call for reforms and regulation of the industry, the only way to prevent such tragedies from happening in Nepal, Israel, Thailand, India, or elsewhere is a total ban of the practice all together.

5. Frozen Embryos and the Pursuit of Fertility

Earlier this week the Washington Post profiled the all-too-common occurrence of couples seeking to have children through IVF and their resulting frozen embryos. To date there are over 600,000 embryos on ice in the United States. Along with the medical risks of IVF and the almost 80 percent failure rate, many couples fail to give consideration of what they will do with their excess embryos if their treatments result in them. As we continue to witness in this brave new world, the no hold bars pursuit of assisted reproduction almost never allows for couples to think again about the potential unintended consequences of these technologies.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by chintermeyer via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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