This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on April 15, 2016

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1. Canada’s Assisted Suicide Law Excludes Americans

The physician assisted suicide bill introduced by Canadian parliament this week will prevent Americans from accessing it—a move to prevent suicide tourism. A well-intentioned effort perhaps, but the very legalization of suicide is bad for public health outcomes, regardless of location. Suicide is a tragedy whenever and wherever it takes place, no matter what method is utilized. It’s a shame that the Canadian state has given it official sanction.

2. Canadian Sperm Bank Sued

A Canadian sperm bank is being sued for falsifying information on one of its star donors. Intended parents were told their purchased sperm came from a man with an impressive IQ and academic background. Instead, he was a convicted felon with mental illness. Considering the entire practice of sperm donation is eugenic and driven by the consumer’s demands, it’s no wonder these families are upset they didn’t get what they paid for. Regrettably, this is just one more case that illuminates how this entire enterprise reduces reproduction to a mere commercial exchange with a price tag. And when the customers don’t get what they want—they demand a refund!

3. Major Financial Firm to Offer Surrogacy Benefits

Ernst & Young, a major international finance firm, announced this week that it will begin offering benefits in 2017 to cover surrogacy for heterosexual or same-sex couples that are employed by the firm. We’re already predicting that this will be the next big “civil rights” issue that advocates of reproductive technology will push. Make no mistake about it, there’s no end to the madness.

4. Genetic Testing May End Donor Anonymity

A new article in the journal of Human Reproduction warns that the popular rise of genetic testing, particularly do-it-yourself home kits, means that anonymous egg and sperm donation won’t likely be anonymous for too much longer as there are improved and more precise ways to gain information on one’s biological parents. We’re hoping that such news will lead to fewer donors and decrease the supply side of this enterprise.

5. Physician Assisted Suicide Ballot Initiative in Colorado 

Earlier this week the Denver Post reported that a Colorado group, Initiative 100, is proposing a ballot initiative that would allow anyone with incurable degenerative diseases to seek physician assisted suicide via legal injection. Such a measure is even a step further than previously proposed—and failed—attempts to legalize the practice for the terminally ill and is even opposed by Compassion & Choices. While this extreme measure seems highly likely to fail, it just adds momentum to an already very slippery slope.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

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