US study says assisted suicide laws rife with dangers to people with disabilities

The National Council on Disability (NCD) has released a scathing analysis of the effect of assisted suicide laws in the United States on people with disabilities. It finds that safeguards are ineffective and that there is little oversight of abuses and mistakes.

In eight states and the District of Columbia it is legal for doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients diagnosed with terminal illness and with a prognosis of six months or less to live, if certain procedural steps are followed.

Pain relief is often described as the primary motivation for seeking assisted suicide. In its report, MORE





Uyghur graves systematically destroyed in Xinjiang

Beijing is destroying traditional Uyghur burial grounds / AFP

Satellite photos suggest that China is systematically destroying dozens of traditional burial grounds of Uyghur Muslims in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province. Bones are sometimes left scattered across the site.

This appears to be part of a broader campaign of cultural genocide waged by Beijing to wipe out separatism and Islam from the remote western province. It is believed that between one and two million Uyghurs are currently incarcerated in re-education camps.

The images, analysed by Earthwise Alliance and published on Wednesday, show new carparks and standardised facilities in… MORE





Oregon doctor sues over ‘irresponsible’ use of his sperm by IVF clinic  

Dr. Bryce Cleary and his biological daughter, Allysen Allee

In a familiar but evergreen story, an Oregon doctor has filed a US$5.25 million lawsuit against Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU )for misusing sperm donations he made 30 years ago.

Dr Bryce Cleary, now 53, claims that he made the donations when he was a first-year medical student with very specific conditions: that the sperm be used to produce no more than five children and that all of the intending mothers came from outside Oregon.

But to his consternation people researching on ancestry.com are now starting… MORE





More foetal remains found in abortion doctor’s property

Ulrich Klopfer during a license hearing in 2015 // WSBT 22 photo

Another 165 foetal remains have been discovered on the property of Indiana abortion doctor Ulrich Klopfer, bringing the total to 2,411. They were discovered in the boot (trunk) of a Mercedes-Benz at a property in Dolton, Illinois, where Klopfer kept eight cars.

Indiana’s attorney-general believes that the remains may be related to abortions Klopfer performed in 2002 at his three Indiana abortion clinics.

Relative stumbled across the bizarre hoard when they were cleaning up Klopfer’s property after his death on September 3. (See BioEdge,… MORE





French activists protest IVF for single women and lesbians

Thousands of activists marched in Paris last Sunday protesting legislation which will make it possible for single women and lesbians to access IVF and sperm donation. The bill is President Emmanuel Macron’s first major social reform and he is promoting it as a law to remove discrimination in reproductive rights. It easily passed in the National Assembly and is now headed to the Senate.

Thousands of demonstrators paraded through the boulevards chanting, “Liberty, Equality, Paternity”, a word-play on the national French motto. Others shouted: “Everyone needs a father.”

Access to IVF treatment was a key demand of French LGBT+ rights… MORE





What Canada’s candidates have to say about MAiD

Andrew Scheer (l) and Justin Trudeau (r) 

Canada heads to a general election on October 21, and polls indicate that governing Liberal and opposition Conservative Party are neck and neck. A recent CBC aggregate poll put the Conservatives slightly ahead of the Liberals, though both are expected to fall short of the 170 seat parliamentary majority needed to form government. 

One issue that has dominated debate on the campaign trail has been Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD). Recently, Quebec’s Superior Court struck down a government regulation that restricted MAiD to… MORE





Bioethicists defend euthanasia for mentally ill

A new edition of the American Journal of Bioethics explores the theme of euthanasia for mentally ill persons. Several well-known commentators on euthanasia argue that in principle euthanasia should not be prohibited for people suffering from severe psychiatric disorders. 

The journal discussion is built around a target article by Brent Kious and Marget Battin from the University of Utah. Battin is a long-time proponent of voluntary euthanasia, while Kious is a psychiatrist who specialises in severe and persistent mental illness. The authors argue that euthanasia for the mentally ill is morally indistinct from euthanasia for… MORE





Canada’s MAiD under fire after euthanasia of depressed patient

Serious concerns have been raised about the implementation of Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) legislation after a 61-year-old depressed but otherwise healthy man was euthanised in the province of British Columbia.  

Alan Nichols, a former school janitor who lived alone and struggled with depression, was admitted to Chilliwack General Hospital, BC, in June after he was found dehydrated and malnourished.  He was assessed for MAiD eligibility and in late July received a lethal injection. 

His family said that he was not eligible for MAiD and that they begged him not to go through… MORE





UK High Court defines ‘motherhood’ in controversial transgender case

A trans man in the United Kingdom has lost his bid to be deemed a father on his child’s birth certificate – even though he conceived it, gestated it, and gave birth to it.

Astonishingly, it appears to be the first time that English common law has defined the word “mother”.

The would-be father, a natal female multimedia journalist at The Guardian named Freddie McConnell, was deeply disappointed by the decision and said that he plans to appeal. He complained:

“It has serious implications for non-traditional family structures. It upholds the view that only the most traditional forms… MORE





Is it ethical for deaf parents to choose to have deaf children?

'The Country of the Blind' 

H.G. Wells, with his acute sense of ethical dilemmas in science, wrote a short story in 1904 about disability, “The Country of the Blind”. In it, an explorer discovers a remote valley in the Andes where everyone is blind. Thinking himself superior, he tries to teach the villagers about sight, but they scoff at him. What’s more, in many respects he is inferior. Eventually, to be allowed marry the girl he loves, he agrees to have his eyes plucked out. But his courage fails him at the last minute and he… MORE




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