This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on August 28, 2015

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1. Nepal Bans Commercial Surrogacy

The Supreme Court of Nepal has banned commercial surrogacy in the country—delivering a win for women and children alike. Some commentators are twisting the news saying it would negatively effect gay couples in Israel who previously relied on Nepal’s surrogacy business. As we have long held, no one—gay, straight, married, or single—has a right to a child via surrogacy—in Nepal, or elsewhere. The decision is under appeal, which we will monitor and keep you informed.

2. Vermont Opens it First Surrogacy Agency

One step forward in Nepal, a step backwards here in the United States. The state of Vermont has opened its first surrogacy agency. Vermont Surrogacy Agency will pay women $25,000 to participate in the practice and have already “matched” three couples with surrogates. While those in favor of the practice are hailing this as a win for family equality, we mourn for the women and children who will be hurt in this process. And there’s not enough money in the world to make that right.

3. New Bill in California Declares Sperm and Egg Donors Not to Be Legal Parents

A new bill in the California State Senate to adopt a State Assembly measure to “modernize” the state’s laws will “protect families, particularly gay and lesbian couples, using assisted reproduction methods and would ensure that sperm and egg donors are not legally considered a parent.” It’s hard to see how a bill that legally redefines what is biologically undisputable can be taken seriously, but welcome to the new age of family equality. Modern? Perhaps. Truthful? Certainly not!

4. First Dutch Donor-Egg Baby Born

Earlier this week the first woman to undergo egg donation within the country gave birth to a baby girl. Previously, egg donation was illegal in the country, and women looking to conceive had to look outside the country. Advocates of the practice laud this as progress. If progress is supporting a practice that relies on the commodification of the female body, no thank you. We’ll pass.

5. Physician Assisted Suicide Group Fined in Minnesota

Final Exit Network, a pro physician assisted suicide group, was fined $30,000 on Monday for assisting in the 2007 death of a Minnesota woman. The woman they aided in killing was not terminally ill, but suffered from chronic pain. Most advocates of the practice hold that physician assisted suicide should be legal but limited to those in the final stages of their lives. In this case neither was true. Just further evidence that even the supposed regulations and safety precautions will be ignored by those intent on using the power of medicine to kill.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by Stew Dean via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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