This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on August 21, 2015

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  1. California Legislators Attempt Sly Maneuver to Reintroduce Physician Assisted Suicide

On the heels of a California judge refusing to allow for physician assisted suicide in the state, lawmakers have once more reintroduced legislation on the matter—this time in a special session hoping to bypass legislators that oppose the practice. In a sly move, these legislators intentionally put the measure forward while three opposing legislators are away. As The Los Angeles Times reported, even the Governor rebuked the effort stating that “the issue merits careful consideration but should not be part of the special session.” Once more we’re seeing just how nasty advocates of physician assisted suicide are willing to play to try and force this practice upon citizens by exploiting tragedy at the end of life and usurping the legislative process. For shame!

  1. U.K. to Vote on Physician Assisted Suicide Next Month

Next month the British Parliament will once more consider a bill to legalize physician assisted suicide in the country. On the heels of this decision, the Anscombe Society in Oxford has produced a first rate guide to understanding what’s at stake and the best evidence against the practice—including proof that physicians and patients alike don’t want this practice to be a part of the medical profession. We highly recommend that you take a look and widely share it.

  1. Medicare Says Doctors Should Get Paid to Discuss End of Life Issues

Medicare officials are now proposing that the government pay for Medicare patients to have consultations with their doctors to discuss end of life options. While it’s important for patients to have proper care and guidance at the end of life, we’re wary that some advocates of this measure could be promoting the practice to encourage physician assisted suicide or other measures to intentionally end one’s life simply to rid the state of having to spend money for the proper care and pain management that patients deserve. We’ll continue to monitor this discussion to see where it leads, but for now, stay vigilant!

  1. Surrogacy Debated in Malta

Efforts to expand IVF and surrogacy in Malta are now being considered under the Embryo Protection Act. Earlier this week the Labour Party Women’s group encouraged greater access to surrogacy, while the Nationalist Party Women’s Group called the move “amateurish.” As our Stop Surrogacy Now campaign has evidenced, women across the political spectrum oppose the practice due to the exploitation of women and the commodification of their bodies. Let’s hope similar conclusions are reached in Malta.

  1. Researchers Grow First Almost Fully-Formed Brain

Earlier this week researchers at the University of Ohio announced that they had successfully grown an almost fully-formed brain. The brain was grown using adult human skin cells. We applaud this effort as it evidences the power of adult skin cells in research without using embryonic stem cells. And as CBC friend Wesley Smith has also suggested, this could mean that there is no need to pursue unethical human cloning for further research and no need for fetal tissue or organ experimentation. Bravo!

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