This Week in Bioethics #107

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on April 14, 2018

Post image for This Week in Bioethics #107

1. A Call to Action

We asked Jennifer’s husband Dan to bring a Call to Action at the end of our recent Paul Ramsey Award Dinner. Dan has supported The CBC since it was merely an idea. He highlighted three areas where your financial giving can significantly help the CBC: 1.) The Paul Ramsey Institute, 2.) The making of the new film, and 3.) The Stop Surrogacy Now project. This week we posted a lightly edited transcript of his remarks, which I hope you find as powerfully encouraging and motivating as I do.

2. A Whole Array of Arguments Why Surrogacy Should be Outlawed

The territories of Australia are actively debating whether to legalize commercial surrogacy. Our Jennifer Lahl was interviewed for a magazine article exploring the topic.

Having come from a strong background in paediatric nursing, Founder and President at The Center for Bioethics and Culture Jennifer Lahl argues that the high-risk nature of gestational surrogate pregnancies puts both the surrogate and unborn child at risk.

“If you’re going to have a patient assume risk, it’s because the medical treatment is something that outweighs the risk,” says Jennifer Lahl. “[However] in the context of surrogacy, there is no benefit to [the surrogate] apart from financial gain.”

Sadly, in spite of writing about, in their words, “a whole array of arguments as to why surrogacy should be outlawed,” the article ultimately comes down on the side of regulating surrogacy. This is completely wrong. The only solution is to #StopSurrogacyNow

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3. This is Eugenics

A study in Belgium seeking to improve the IVF “baby take-home rate” is carefully examining embryos in the lab.

Using a technique called haplotyping, which determines which gene sets come from which parents, the researchers succeeded in analysing the genetic makeup of an embryo’s cells. This new technique allowed them to determine which embryos are chromosomally unstable and which are more likely to thrive.

The same technology can identify whether an embryo is affected by genetic disease. To reduce the risk of transmission, clinics can simply decide not to transfer those embryos.

Only those embryos with good genes are transferred into the bodies of their mothers for gestation. This, friends, is the very definition of eugenics. But, as I’ve written before, the connotations of eugenics are shifting so that only a eugenics that is imposed by “authorities” is seen as problematic. Eugenics that one chooses for one’s self or for one’s children is simply a way of meeting one’s desires. And how could our desires possibly mislead us? In many, many ways, friends. Our desires can and do mislead us.

4. A Call for More Information in California

One of our current Paul Ramsey Institute Fellows, David Major, co-wrote a very important op-ed calling for more information to be collected on the use of assisted suicide in California.

Why are patients selecting aid in dying? What quality and duration of health care have they received? Learning these answers could help us improve end-of-life care in California.

5. Surrogacy in New Jersey

New Jersey’s Gestational Surrogacy Bill has passed both houses of their legislature. It now moves to the Governor’s desk to sign into law. Will Gov. Murphy sign it or veto it?

Photo by David Cohen on Unsplash

 

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