Last Week in Bioethics

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on June 27, 2017

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Even though summer is more-or-less in full swing, last week seemed like it was extra busy with bioethics news items. Below is a taste of some of the top items, all of which we posted on our Facebook page and Twitter feed (to keep up with all the latest, be sure to like and follow us on either or both Facebook and Twitter).

Genetics #ItsComplicated

The Atlantic reported that genetics is even more complicated than thought: “What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything?”

Historically, even understanding the role of one gene in one disease has been considered a major success. Now we have to somehow understand how combinations of seemingly hundreds or thousands of genes work together in very complicated ways. It’s beyond our current ability.

Although this article didn’t mention it, has implications for genome editing such as CRISPR/Cas9.

Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia, Dollars, and Cents

Researchers have conducted a study in order to estimate the cost savings that the legalization of “medical assistance in dying” will bring to Canada.

Medical assistance in dying could reduce annual health care spending across Canada by between $34.7 million and $138.8 million, exceeding the $1.5–$14.8 million in direct costs associated with its implementation.

Note well what is being said here, and what the larger implications are, namely, it’s cheaper to provide assisted-suicide prescriptions than life-sustaining treatment.

Good News from California

A judge in California has ruled that a suit challenging the state’s assisted suicide law can move forward.

“I am very heartened to hear about this decision,” said Dr. George Delgado, one of the five physicians suing to overturn the law. “Physician-assisted suicide does damage to patients who are in very difficult situations. It does damage to the medical profession. It compromises the sacred trust between physician and patient, which should be based on healing, not based on killing.”

Surrogacy Reality

As has been widely reported, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have hired a surrogate. In one article, Kardashian was quoted as saying: “So it is a process. You kind of see the whole thing on this next season of our show, of me begging Khloé to help out, but I do not want to do that to her.”

Are we then to take it, “I do not want to do that to” my sister. But I’ll hire a stranger and do it to her? That’s certainly what it sounds like.

Reactions to this news have been interesting. On the one hand, feminist site Jezebel called Kardashian out: “Hold up! You’re telling me that a woman who makes millions of dollars a year from her iPhone apps can only pay the woman carrying her child a measly $4,000 if she loses her reproductive organs?!”

In contrast, Romper published a very shallow (and extremely selective) reading of the situation. In it, the author argues that society simply wants to control the bodies of women, therefore any criticism of surrogacy is a lashing out based in this desire.

However, as we have repeatedly shown in our films and in our writings, the body (and the lifestyle) of a woman serving as a surrogate mother is highly controlled in surrogacy arrangements.

Beyond that, surrogacy can have devastating consequences (including life and death consequences) for both the women who serve as surrogates as well as the children conceived through third-party reproductive arrangements. There are effects on others near surrogacy arrangements too, particularly the children surrogates already have.

There is Still Time

Finally, thanks to many of you, we have raised a bit more than the minimum amount of money Jennifer and I need to go to South Dakota (flights, hotels, rental car, meals, some rental gear we need, etc.).

However, there is still time for you to get in on the rewards of backing our project!

We are continuing to ask people to support us because once we get back from South Dakota we need to hire an editor, finish, market, and distribute the film. All this costs money (actually, editing is the biggest ticket item we have – $10,000+).

Please keep liking, keep sharing, keep giving.

Help us tell Kelly’s story. Help us #StopSurrogacyNow


 

These are a few of the highlights of the past week in bioethics. We posted several other items as well. Be sure to like and follow us on either or both Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the latest in taking, making, and faking life.

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