This Week in Bioethics

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on November 3, 2017

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1. #StopSurrogacyNow

Jessica Allen’s surrogacy story picked up even more press this week: Washington Post, BBC, People magazine, Inside Edition, PopSugar, The Independent, LiveScience, Mom.me, and more. You may remember that she was pregnant with a baby for a Chinese couple and with her own child at the same time, and she had to fight the surrogacy agency to get her own child back. We are hopeful that bringing attention to the abuses that go on in surrogacy and to the fact that no amount of regulation or legislation could ever fully protect the women and children involved will help lead to the end of the practice of surrogacy. The only protection is prohibition. #StopSurrogacyNow

2. Sliding Down the Slippery Slope

The (other) CBC shows exactly what it looks like to slide down the slippery slope. Dr. Dawn Davies, a pediatric palliative care physician and chair of the Canadian Pediatric Society’s bioethics committee says the medical community should start thinking about issues involving assisted death for minors. Yes, “assisted death” for minors, which in Canada means active euthanasia, that is, a physician killing his or her patient.

3. Consuming Fertility

The Washington Post recently ran an article outlining a whole range of ways in which the business of fertility is reaching new heights of consumerism as consumers go about consuming more and more fertility products and services. In the article, however, the reporter does not raise the most important questions about the pursuit of and the business of fertility. What if we were to ask — what if we were to carefully and deeply explore — questions like “What is best for children, for women, for families, for society?” “What broadly promotes true and full human flourishing?”

4. The Unethical Practice of Medicine

In response to a push for the legalization assisted suicide in Australia, The World Medical Association (WMA) released a statement stating again their strong opposition to physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. These practices “constitute the unethical practice of medicine . . . and must be condemned by the medical profession.” In addition, the WMA “strongly encourages all national medical associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions.” This statement is clear and unequivocal. It should be applauded and, more importantly, headed.

5. Case for Abolishing all Forms of Surrogacy

Our friends at the Stop Surrogacy Now coalition have picked up and republished an article that tackles head-on the common idea that unpaid or “altruistic” surrogacy may be okay. This is an argument we often hear: it’s really the money that corrupts things, if surrogacy is done without the money or with only reimbursement for actual expenses — not for profit — then everything will be fine.

Australian lawyer and scholar Dr. Catherine Lynch says that such arguments simply cannot withstand scrutiny. Her primary focus is on the bond that forms between mother and child, and the harm that surrogacy does in immediately severing that crucial and strong bond. It is a powerful argument that is well worth your time to read in full.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

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

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