This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on January 22, 2016

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1. Another Push for Physician Assisted Suicide in Colorado

The Colorado state legislature is set to consider a bill on physician assisted suicide at the beginning of next month—one year after a similar bill failed to pass. We’ll monitor this as it makes its way through committee, but once again we see that advocates of doctor prescribed suicide just won’t give up.

2. Canada’s High Court Green Lights Physician Assisted Suicide Law

Last Friday the Canadian Supreme Court gave its final approval to the country’s physician assisted suicide regulations—even though health officials in Quebec had already commenced the practice and confirmed that one patient had already been “assisted” in their request to die. Apparently our neighbors to the north just couldn’t contain their enthusiasm for this new law and were eager to get a head start! 

3. Guidelines Issued for Physician Assisted Suicide in California

Since suicide seems to be this week’s theme, it’s fitting that California issued its guidelines this week on how their doctors are to begin the practice. Interestingly enough, the guidelines don’t mention what is to be listed on the death certificates of those that utilize it. May we make a suggestion?: Murder. 

4. Neurotechnology: A Sign of Progress or Peril?

A new program, the Neural Engineering System Design, aims to promote a chip that could be implanted in the human brain that would “compensate for deficits in sight or hearing by feeding digital auditory or visual information into the brain at a resolution and experiential quality.” While the goal of improving hearing or sight is something that should give us hope—we’re skeptical that this new technology will deliver all that it promises to achieve. And, the minute one’s brain begins operating or relying on a chip for certain capacities, serious questions are raised about what it means to be human. Count us as skeptics.

5. Italy Cracks Down on Surrogacy

While surrogacy is already illegal in Italy, a group of Italian senators, along with the Prime Minister, has put forth a bill that would carry prison terms for those that seek to enter into surrogacy arrangements outside of the country. It’s a strong law that it buttressed on the idea that surrogacy anywhere and anytime is wrong. Hear, hear!

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

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