This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on November 20, 2015

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1. Couples Pursuing Surrogacy in India Now in Limbo

Due to India’s recent ban on international commercial surrogacy, a number of foreign couples in process of utilizing an Indian surrogate are scrambling. Some have frozen embryos they are trying to have shipped to their respective countries, while others have surrogates that are already in the process of carrying children for them. The present situation only goes to evidence just how flawed the practice of surrogacy remains—and India’s new law will go a long way in making sure these wrongs are now made right.

2. Physician Assisted Suicide Advocates Gear Up for Battle

Following a huge victory in California, Compassion and Choices—the nation’s leading physician assisted suicide organization—is gearing up for a nationwide battle. An article in USA Today earlier this week chronicled the organization’s rapid growth—now at 71 full-time employees and contributions of over $17 million in the last fiscal year. Mark our words, this will be one the most important battles in our country over the next decade.

3. Dutch Euthanasia Society Wants to Expand Access to Services

The Dutch Voluntary Euthanasia Society is now campaigning to have free pills made available to citizens over age 70 so they can end their lives at will. This marks a new low for a nation that has fast tracked physician assisted suicide over the past decade. Elderly persons are among the most vulnerable members of society. They deserve our protection—not pills.

4. San Francisco Court Rules in Frozen Embryo Custody Case

On Wednesday, a superior court in San Francisco ruled that the frozen embryos of a divorced couple must be thawed and destroyed—despite the ex-wife’s attempt to use them to become pregnant. We here at the CBCN lament the destruction of embryos, but this case reveals the many ways in which reproduction, once moved into the laboratory, has become a mess. Today we have nearly one million frozen embryos without a clear path for disposition.

5. Surrogacy Debated at the Council of Europe

Next week the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Council of Europe will consider the “human rights and ethical issues related to surrogacy.” There is a growing push to liberalize surrogacy regulation in Europe where many countries have bans on commercial surrogacy. We’ll monitor this closely and will keep you posted.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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


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