This Week in Bioethics #95

by Matthew Eppinette, Director of Programs on January 19, 2018

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1. Jennifer in Washington State

On Tuesday, Jennifer testified before the Washington State Senate’s Law & Justice Committee. They’re considering SB 6037, The Uniform Parentage Act, which would, among other things, legalize surrogacy in and encourage reproductive tourism to Washington State.

In just over two minutes, Jennifer attempted to summarize the full scope of the written testimony and the enclosures she submitted to the committee. You can watch the video of her testimony below, and read her full written testimony here. It’s a powerful indictment of the practice of surrogacy that highlights yet again the many ways in which regulation will never be adequate to protect women and children.

2. Tell the Government of Western Australia to Abolish all Surrogacy

The Government of Western Australia is inviting Submissions for their independent review of the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 and their Surrogacy Act 2008. This is a chance to tell the WA Government to abolish all surrogacy as it constitutes a human rights violation of the women and children involved. Full details are available on the #StopSurrogacyNow website.

3. Increasing Indifference to Life

Paul Ramsey Institute Scholar Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a psychiatrist, recently published a wide-ranging article in on several current trends that contribute to suicide. Confused societal signals regarding suicide in end-of-life situations (and other, ever-expanding situations) are a part of the problem:

The law is a teacher, and American law ­increasingly teaches indifference to life when it runs up against respect for radical autonomy. California and Colorado recently joined four other states in permitting doctors to assist terminally ill patients to take their own lives. In the same week that Gov. Brown signed the California bill, two British scholars published a study showing that laws permitting assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington have led to a rise in overall suicide rates in those states.

These findings should not surprise us. We know that publicized cases of suicide tend to produce copycat cases…

Indeed.

4. Why We’re Filmmakers

We received the following email this week: “I was an adoption attorney . . . I remember advising people not to ‘donate’ egg/sperm and I always had a problem with surrogacy cases and declined to participate. I watched your videos and they confirmed my doubts.”

It’s wonderful to receive this kind of affirmation. It reminds us why we do the work we do. Notably, that work absolutely could not be done without the help and support of so many who support us. Thank you!

By the way, if you haven’t seen our films, they are all available online:
Compassion and Choice DENIED: available free of charge on Facebook and YouTube
Maggie’s Story — available on Amazon, free with Prime
Breeders: A Subclass of Women? — available on Amazon, free with Prime
Anonymous Father’s Day — available on Amazon, free with Prime
Eggsploitation — available on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play
Lines That Divide —  available on Vimeo

5. Surrogacy Battle Update

We’ve been assisting Melissa Cook and following her case for more than two years. She first contacted us when she was being pressured to abort one of the triplets she was carrying as a surrogate for a single, deaf man in Georgia. She delivered all three, and they are now in the custody of the Georgia man. However, questions have arisen regarding their living situation, and she has pursued a custody case. The US Supreme Court has now declined to hear that custody case, meaning that the lower court ruling that surrogates have no rights or responsibilities toward the children they carry will stand. The full ramifications of this situation have yet to be felt, particularly by the three children.

Lagniappe

Our Paul Ramsey Institute Fellows and Scholars are gathering this weekend in San Francisco for the second meeting of the current cohort. In fact, I’m posting this from one of Houston’s airports on my way to join them. We will be having a full day of discussions on the work and legacy of Paul Ramsey. Honestly, the Paul Ramsey Institute is one of the most important things we do — seeking to develop and inform the leaders of tomorrow. You can read more about the program, the Fellows, and the Scholars on the Paul Ramsey Institute website.

PS: This is only a sampling of the items that have come across our screens this week. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to keep up with all the latest.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by worak via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 

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