Abortion legalised in Australia’s most populous state

NSW Parliament 

Abortion will be legal everywhere in Australia after the New South Wales Parliament passed a bill decriminalising it.

Although the bill sailed through the Upper House by a vote of 26-14, it was bitterly contested. The debate has weakened the authority of the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, who strongly supported it. Some members of her Liberal Party (confusingly for American readers, it is conservative) threatened to resign unless the bill were amended.

The issue was not whether abortion should be more widely available. On the books, the state’s former abortion law was very strict. But… MORE

Italy’s highest court rules that assisted suicide is permissible

D.J. Fabo   

Italy's Constitutional Court ruled this week that assisted suicide is legal if a person is experiencing “intolerable physical and psychological suffering".

Anyone who "facilitates the suicidal intention... of a patient kept alive by life-support treatments and suffering from an irreversible pathology" should not be punished, the court ruled.

The patient's condition must be "causing physical and psychological suffering that he or she considers intolerable," it said.

The case before the court has been simmering since 2017. A well-known music producer, Fabiano Antoniani, better known as DJ Fabo, became a quadriplegic and was left blind… MORE

Should patients with anorexia be force fed?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious and chronic mental illness – and the one with the highest mortality rate, about 20% in 20 years. Force-feeding as a treatment is ethically fraught as many patients adamantly refuse to eat and waste away. Death from physical causes is 5 times higher and death by suicide is 32 times higher.

The ethics of treatment for anorexia, which is classed as a type of body dysmorphia, has become a hotter topic with the sharp increase in gender dysphoria. Opponents of allowing young people to transition to a different gender often use anorexia as a counter-example.… MORE

Defending conscientious objection

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

One of the hottest topics in bioethics today is conscientious objection (CO). Although the clamour is loudest in the corner where the debate is over whether CO has a right to exist, most writers and legislators believe that there is some room for CO in healthcare. The question is how much room.  

That’s why a special issue of The New Bioethics is a welcome addition to the rapidly growing literature on CO. The articles are part of a four-year plan of seminars in Britain organised by the… MORE

Some guys just like to collect foetal remains. What’s the big deal?

Fort Wayne Police Department searches a former abortion clinic owned by Dr. Ulrich Klopfer / Eric Ginnard/The Herald-News 

The man who was probably Indiana’s most experienced abortionist, Ulrich Klopfer, was hardly an attractive advertisement for his profession when he was alive. But after his death on September 3, he has become the Chernobyl of reputation management.

Dr Klopfer, an osteopath, began doing abortions shortly after the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. During his long career he probably did “tens of thousands of procedures in multiple counties over several decades,” according to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.… MORE

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust

An artist's rendering of the future Recompose facility / Recompose website

The first person to be legally cremated in the United Kingdom was 71-year-old Mrs Jeannette C. Pickersgill, a well-known figure in literary and scientific circles. That was in 1885. There were two more cremations in that year, for a total of 3 out of 597,357 deaths. Now about 77% of all the dead are cremated in the UK. Cremation took off like wildfire.

A new method of disposing of human remains is getting some publicity at the moment: composting. Earlier this year Washington became the… MORE

Is Trump’s migration policy eugenic?

from The Greenlining Institute 

Critics of the Trump Administration have a long list of derogatory adjectives to describe its policies. The latest is “eugenic”.

Changes to immigration regulations, set to take effect on October 15, were denounced in The Hastings Center blog under the headline: “The Public Charge Rule is a Eugenic Policy”.  Under Federal law any alien who "is likely at any time to become a public charge" is barred from receiving a visa or becoming a permanent resident.

The new rules allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deny green cards to immigrants… MORE

Google bans ads for ‘bad actors’ selling ‘deceptive treatments’

Tech giant Google will ban advertisements for experimental medical treatments on its platforms, announcing in a blog post it has seen an increase in “bad actors attempting to take advantage of individuals by offering untested, deceptive treatments.”

Google will still allow companies doing genuine biomedical research to advertise for clinical trials, but its new policy prohibits advertising for unproven or experimental medical techniques. This includes most stem cell therapy, cellular (non-stem) therapy, and gene therapy.

The Washington Post reported that the changes come as stem cell clinics have grown into a sprawling direct-to-consumer industry. Some clinics have… MORE

When love in a marriage is dead…

Wang and Lin's wedding / Wang family 

Here’s a curly one about informed consent. Can you marry someone who is brain dead? A Taiwanese man did recently, with his fiancée in a hospital bed and hooked up to a life support system.

The wife, identified only as Wang, had two sons aged 12 and 13 with her partner, Lin, but they had never married.

A few moments before she was taken off life support, Lin and his unconscious bride had a bedside wedding witnessed by her family. The couple was dressed in matching red T-shirts and… MORE

Transhuman in the race for Transhumanist Party leadership

Vrillon, trans-human candidate 

With the election of the US President only 14 months away, the US Transhumanist Party is in the process of selecting its candidate. The telegenic 2016 candidate Zoltan Istvan is still a advisor, but does not plan to run.

There are nine candidates. The Party is holding an on-line debate before a ballot this month.

It is a varied line-up. Rachel Haywire wants to use a pirate spaceship to promote her candidacy. Kimberly Forsythe promises “to dismantle the government and start over from scratch with an ultra-efficient moneyless society”. Charles Holsopple is a former… MORE

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