This Week in Bioethics #116

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on June 15, 2018

Post image for This Week in Bioethics #116

1. Kickstarter Update  

Thank you to all those who have given to our Kickstarter campaign. It has been so encouraging to see so many people giving to our project! We are thrilled. As of this writing, we have just hit $5,961, 47%, from 41 backers! Thank you!

We are so very thankful for your generosity. I know that some aren’t giving to this campaign because they’re monthly supporters or regular givers through other means. I want to thank you for that as well. It means a great deal to both Jennifer and me that so many other people are willing to open their wallets and give to the work we do.

You know what would be a huge encouragement to Jennifer? If, when she returned on Monday, she found that our project was fully funded! Can you help me do that?

Here’s my request: can you give $10 — just $10? Many people tell us that they are informed or encouraged by our work. If every person who follows us on social media, who visits our website, who receives our emails, who watches our films gave just $10, we would so blow this fundraising campaign out of the water.

#Give10 #Just10

Again, Thank You!

Watch the This Week in Bioethics #116 video

2. Artificial Intelligence and Medicine

We hear a lot of talk these days about artificial intelligence and machine learning, so it’s no surprise to hear that these kinds of new technologies are beginning to enter the realm of medicine. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, “medicine might be uniquely suited to a safe and effective rollout of AI. It’s a highly regulated industry, full of risk-averse practitioners who are nevertheless accustomed to incorporating new technology and insights.”

This, to me, is very encouraging to hear, particularly the focus on the practitioners as occupying a central role in evaluating and applying information gleaned from AI technologies. The face-to-face relationship between embodied human beings has been and must remain at the core of the practice of medicine. It is a good thing when machine learning can help to inform that care, but it should never replace it.  

3. Look at the Evidence!

Jennifer had a commentary piece published this week that unpacks the surrogacy law that New Jersey Governor Murphy recently signed. In short, New Jersey has now become a “surrogacy friendly” state. This means:

there are legal protections in place for the brokers and buyers of babies, assuring that those who enter into such contracts get the baby that they have “ordered.” Surrogate mothers and the children they bear are not and cannot be protected from the dangers and harms of surrogacy through legislation and contracts. How can contracts and laws protect the health and well-being of those exposed to the risks of these high-tech pregnancies?

Jennifer goes on to detail the dangers and harms surrogate pregnancies hold for both women and children. Almost all of this detail is available in our documents “3 Things You Should Know About Surrogacy” and “Telling the Truth about Surrogacy in the United States.” Importantly, these documents contain references to all of the many studies, articles, and other evidence backing up the claims made. Sadly, however, our lawmakers are simply not paying attention to the medical-scientific evidence regarding surrogacy (and third-party reproduction generally).

4. This is #BigFertility

MarketWatch recently produced a video report on the projected growth of the the fertility sector of the economy. Their prediction is that it will reach $30 billion in the next five years. Do watch the video (embedded below), and notice the ways in which they discuss the matters of human procreation. Honestly, it’s as if they’re talking about manufacturing widgets! This is what we mean when we talk about the shift from begetting children to making children. This is what we mean when we talk about #BigFertility.

5. On the Profession and Practice of Medicine

This is in truth an item from “Last Week in Bioethics,” but I want to be sure you don’t miss it because of the push we’re making to fund our new film. #Give10 #Just10

We’ve posted a transcript of Farr Curlin’s remarks at this year’s Paul Ramsey Award Dinner. He discusses the pressures under which today’s physicians, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners work as we have moved from a covenantal view of the practice of medicine toward a contractual view. This, of course, is an aspect of larger cultural shifts that challenge us in many ways, not only when we are receiving (or providing) medical care.

However — and this is key — we should not despair. Instead . . . well, I can’t give away the whole thing, can I? Please set aside a few minutes to read and consider Dr. Curlin’s remarks.

BTW, through the years we’ve posted the remarks of several Ramsey Award recipients on our website. You can read them on this page.

Lagniappe

Here is the second teaser trailer for our new film #BigFertility. This one is a little bit different than our other teaser, so I’d love to hear what you think about it.

 

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Photo by Didier Weemaels on Unsplash

 

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