This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on October 16, 2015

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1. American Surrogate Mother Dies

On October 8th, Brooke Lee Brown of Burley, Idaho died of complications from a surrogate pregnancy. Shortly thereafter, the two twins she was carrying for a couple in Spain, where surrogacy is illegal, also passed away. To date, there’s been a media blackout. No major outlets are reporting on this story. If you’re as appalled as we are by this, please join us in spreading the word and demand that state and federal investigators look into this matter.

2. Indian Supreme Court Suggests Possible Ban on Commercial Surrogacy

For many years now, surrogacy has been a thriving industry in India. This week, however, the Supreme Court of India hinted that this may soon come to an end. “Commercial surrogacy should not be allowed but it is going on in the country. You are allowing trading of human embryo. It is becoming a business. It has evolved into surrogacy tourism,” the Court observed. Perhaps India will soon set an example to the rest of the world in outlawing this exploitative—and as we’ve seen this week, deadly—practice.

3. Iceland Considers Surrogacy

Iceland’s Minister of Health announced that he is recommending that the country’s ban on surrogacy be lifted in order to help childless couples, regardless of their sexual orientation. How tragic that an office dedicated to protecting health within the country would consider promoting a practice that jeopardizes the health of the women and children involved in it. For shame!

4. California Governor Supports Physician Assisted Suicide but Not Life Saving Drugs

Last week Governor Brown signed a law legalizing physician assisted suicide in California. This week he vetoed a bill that would allow terminally ill patients the right to use experimental drugs that could potentially save their lives. The hypocrisy is almost laughable—if there weren’t human lives on the line.

5. Nigeria’s Baby Factories

Earlier this week The Daily Beast reported on the rise of “Baby Farms” in Nigeria—where girls are intentionally impregnated and the children they give birth to are sold off to childless couples or into slavery. Nigeria has long been a hotspot for exploitation where young girls are paid as little as $10 USD to sell their eggs. The market for eggs, sperm, wombs, and children is ever-growing and ever-appalling, and it demands serious international attention.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

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