This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on February 26, 2016

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1. World Medical Association to Revise Hippocratic Oath

The World Medical Association, which represents over 100 national medical associations, has announced that a working group will be revising the oath its members take. While no announcements have been made, I’d be willing to bet that one of the first orders of business will be to give cover to doctors who want to be involved in assisted suicide and euthanasia. For shame!

2. Physician Assisted Suicide a No Go in Utah

Lawmakers in Utah decided this week to wait a year before considering a vote on physician assisted suicide legislation. The legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee will take on a study to consider the effects of such legislation. We’re confident that if they do so honestly, they’ll come to understand that such a practice is corrosive to the medical profession and will ultimately reject such a measure.

3. Campaign to Legalize Physician Assisted Suicide Continues in New York

As the New York State legislature weighs a bill that would legalize the practice of physician assisted suicide in the state, the widower of Brittany Maynard, the 29 year old woman who moved to Oregon to utilize its physician assisted suicide laws in 2014, traveled to Albany to promote the bill. Before taking her own life, Maynard garnered national attention—receiving a full profile in People magazine and countless other papers and media outlets. Her husband, it seems, can’t seem to stay away from the spotlight either and is now touring the country with Compassion and Choices promoting the practice of assisted suicide.

4. Sweden Sets an Example with Surrogacy

This week the government of Sweden concluded its study on surrogacy, which is expected to be approved by Parliament later this year. In the report they recommended that all surrogacy be banned—both commercial and altruistic. This alone is worth celebrating, but the Swedes went even further: they are taking steps to prevent their citizens from going abroad to pursue surrogacy. Sweden now offers a model for the rest of the world to follow in preventing the exploitation of women and children. We applaud their efforts.

5. California Surrogate Delivers and is now in Custody Battle

You may recall that it was CBC that first broke the story of Melissa Cook, the California surrogate pregnant with triplets and under pressure from the intended father to abort one child. This week she delivered all three babies prematurely. To date, she has not been allowed to even see the children. Meanwhile, these children are being deprived of critical mother-child bonding. As this case evidences, it’s the children who suffer most from the practice of surrogacy. They have become mere pawns while the intended father fights to keep them from the woman who brought them into this world. We’re on the front lines of this case and will keep you posted as to whether justice prevails.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

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