This Week in Bioethics #108

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on April 20, 2018

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1. Is Commercial Gestational Surrogacy Coming to New Jersey?

New Jersey’s “gestational carrier bill,” a/k/a “rent-a-womb,” which was twice vetoed by Governor Christie, has again passed both houses of the New Jersey legislature. It is waiting on Governor Murphy’s desk for his signature or veto.

Our friends at #StopSurrogacyNow unpack the situation, explaining why and how to ask the governor to veto this bill. In short, commercial, gestational surrogacy contracts are currently not recognized in New Jersey, and that’s a good thing. This bill will upend that, and poorly.

2. No Laughing Matter

An April Fools’ joke offering the raffle of a surrogate mother in Thailand led Jennifer to reflect on the current state of surrogacy around the globe.

Surrogacy is prohibited and borders are closed in many countries because they have seen firsthand the ways in which surrogacy harms women and children. In the United States, however, surrogacy is marketed as the loving, giving act of an “angel.” No concern is given to the health and well-being of the women involved. And make no mistake, it is heavily marketed with big, big money that downplays any risks or concerns for the needs and best interests of the children.

This is an important article, and we’re receiving a lot of good feedback on it. Please give it a read!

For more on surrogacy see the Surrogacy section of our website and the resources section of our #StopSurrogacyNow campaign website (and please, please sign the #StopSurrogacyNow statement if you haven’t already).

3. Curing Diseases Bad for Business?

An analyst with Goldman Sachs recently questioned whether curing diseases might be bad for business.

While [a one shot cure] carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.

As one astute person pointed out on Facebook, “There will always be a million ways to make a million dollars.” In other words, cure a disease, make your money, then move on and cure another one. Well said.

4. LGBT Activist Argues against Surrogacy

I met Gary Powell when Jennifer and I were in Madrid last year with the #StopSurrogacyNow campaign. He had traveled there from his home in England, and he is both an outspoken opponent of surrogacy and an LGBT activist.

Gary was recently interviewed by a Dutch documentary program about his views, and the interview has just been published. One of the most valuable aspects of this piece is that it demonstrates (once again) that people from a variety of positions can arrive at the same conclusion about surrogacy.

5. Bioethics and Employee Benefits

It’s been nearly four years since we addressed the false promises of the employee benefit of egg freezing. Employers are now beginning to offer genetic testing as a benefit. However — as you might suspect — the benefits of this benefit are not crystal clear. The main issue is that because there is so much we still don’t know about genetics and because so many things are the product of multiple genes interacting with one another and with a whole host of external factors, genetic testing probably does not at present have much to offer those outside of known high-risk categories. In fact, some experts warn that such testing may actually cause harm, leading to tests and procedures that simply are not necessary. This is an area that is constantly developing and will surely have a wider application in the future.

Lagniappe

This week’s lagniappe is a podcast recommendation. Recently, the radio show Fresh Air, which is also available as a podcast, presented a very helpful introduction to Artificial Intelligence, an overview of the current state of AI research, and a look at what those working in the field hope AI might someday become. It’s a very helpful primer on where we are and where we might be going. Give it a listen.
This Week in Bioethics Archive

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

 

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