This Week in Bioethics

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on September 22, 2017

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1. Our Big News This Week: A New Ebook

Because of the work we do on third-party reproduction—egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy—we’re frequently contacted by those who have been affected by these practices. Kevin contacted us after he watched our film Anonymous Father’s Day (now available FREE on Amazon Prime). We asked him if he would be willing to share his story with a broader audience, and this ebook, I’m a Sperm Donor Father: Here’s My Story, is that story. As you will read, Kevin’s sperm-donation experience has affected him greatly. We are grateful to be able to share Kevin’s story with you. Click here to download the ebook.

2. You Never Know What You’re Gonna Find

First posted on our Anonymous Father’s Day Facebook page, this news item highlights the fact that “Secrets are not secrets anymore. Things are changing, so you better tell your kids now.” Jaclyn Baxter used one of the popular, consumer DNA testing kits from 23andMe hoping to find out about her health. She found out she had at least three half siblings. Unbeknownst to her, her father was a sperm donor; she wasn’t biologically related to the man who raised her nor her aunts and cousins on his side of the family. Secrets are like landmines . . . they can go off at any time . . .

3. American College of Physicians Firmly Rejects Assisted Suicide

In a detailed position paper, the American College of Physicians this week set forth their reasons for rejecting assisted suicide. After a thorough examination of the issue, they conclude:  

Society’s goal should be to make dying less, not more, medical. Physician-assisted suicide is neither a therapy nor a solution to difficult questions raised at the end of life. On the basis of substantive ethics, clinical practice, policy, and other concerns, the ACP does not support legalization of physician-assisted suicide. This practice is problematic given the nature of the patient–physician relationship, affects trust in that relationship as well as in the profession, and fundamentally alters the medical profession’s role in society. Furthermore, the principles at stake in this debate also underlie medicine’s responsibilities on other issues and the physician’s duty to provide care based on clinical judgment, evidence, and ethics. Control over the manner and timing of a person’s death has not been and should not be a goal of medicine. However, through high-quality care, effective communication, compassionate support, and the right resources, physicians can help patients control many aspects of how they live out life’s last chapter.

4. Science Outpaces Not Only Ethics, but Science Itself

MIT Technology Review reports on “artificial human embryos,” a development so new that scientists aren’t sure what exactly is happening or even what to call it. Embryonic and embryonic-type stem cells, under the right conditions, seem to be organizing themselves into embryo-like arrangements. This new research raises a host of pressing ethical questions. Perhaps the overarching question is, What are we leading each other to become? That is, how does a development like this contribute to or fit into a comprehensive and cohesive view of true human flourishing for all human beings? An important, but often unasked, question is, what does the addition of the ability to create such structures in the lab imperil, reduce, or diminish about humanity at large?

5. Dignity, Sickness, and Suffering

Amy Hasbrouck, the executive director of Toujours Vivant/Not Dead Yet Canada, wrote a terrific piece on the ways in which journalists sometimes (often?) distort the realities of assisted suicide and euthanasia when they report on it. She takes as her jumping off point an HBO Vice “Right to Die” segment, which she finds to be propaganda rather than journalism.

the producers had their minds made up on the issue before they began to explore it, and so neglected to portray the arguments against assisted suicide and euthanasia fairly. They played upon public fears of becoming disabled, using the term ‘dignity’ as the opposite of disability, and implying that the only way to retain control in one’s life was to have assisted death.

This kind of view is not only false, it is harmful—dangerous, even—to make the mistake of thinking that disability (or sickness or suffering of any kind) leave people without dignity.

 

Ahem, please take a look at this, if you haven’t already. And if you have, please look again 🙂
We run a lean operation at CBC, but we really do need your financial support! TIA!
http://www.cbc-network.org/2017/09/heres-what-we-have-planned/

 
This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by Nicolas Vigier via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

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