This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on April 1, 2016

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1. Canadians Reject Assisted Suicide for Mentally Ill

One would hope this wouldn’t even be considered news, but just common decency. But after the latest news of Canada wanting to extend the practice of physician assisted suicide to physician assistants as well, it’s hard to know where it will stop. I suppose it’s somewhat comforting that a new poll revealed that 78% of Canadians reject assisted suicide for reasons of “psychological suffering.” But given how low they have set the bar, it’s hard to know if this will make any difference.

2. California Court Issues Stay in Melissa Cook’s Surrogacy Case

Melissa Cook, the California surrogate mother who is fighting for custody of the triplets she recently birthed, received some good news this week when the judge issued a stay in the case preventing the intended father from moving the triplets out of state. This same intended father originally attempted to pressure Cook into aborting one of the children. We’ll continue to monitor the case and keep you posted.

3. Global Surrogacy Industry Beginning to Crumble

We’ve been saying this for far too long now, but it’s refreshing to see the headline: “Global Rent-A Womb Industry Beginning to Crumble.” The article chronicles the numerous problems with international surrogacy that have led to recent crackdowns in Nepal, India, Mexico, Thailand, and elsewhere, and notes “The countries’ common rationale: Ethical concerns trump economic gains.” It’s taken far too long to reach this conclusion, but we’re thrilled to hear it nonetheless.

4. Euthanasia Fuels Organ Harvesting

A new journal article in the Journal of Medical Ethics proposes that doctors should be allowed to take organs from patients who seek euthanasia so the organs can be used in transplant surgery. This is already allowed in Belgium and Holland. Lest one thinks the practice of euthanasia couldn’t be any more calculating and grisly, this serves as another reminder that the worst is yet to come.

5. Australians Bypassing Egg Donation and Surrogacy Laws

A new report shows that up to 20 Australians are traveling to South Africa each week to utilize surrogacy there, and South Africans are flocking to Australia in droves to donate their eggs. In both areas the law is unclear, but once more we see that regulation will never solve this problem. Only a full ban will protect the women and children harmed from this global trade on the female body.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

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