Dutch doctors cleared to euthanise dementia patients


Dutch doctors will be able to sedate demented patients and then euthanise them, if they have made advance directives, according to new official guidelines. This follows a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year which quashed the conviction of a retired nursing home doctor for murder. A very interesting development. See the article below. 

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Sorry, late newsletter


Sorry about this. Your BioEdge newsletter is VERY late. But our content management system went pear-shaped last weekend and there were issues. But after a lot of sweat and bad language, it is back on the road, still needing a few repairs, but chugging along. Apologies. 

Michael Cook 
Editor 
  

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After the election


Hi there, 

The US election dominates the media at the moment. But the rest of the world hasn’t stopped. Our lead story today continues our coverage of the dramatic events in Poland, where protesters appear to have succeeded in blocking further restrictions on abortion. There’s lots more reading below.

However, I'm afraid that BioEdge is a bit late. Our apologies. We are having some technical issues with our software. I hope that they will be resolved soon.

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Kiwis choose euthanasia


New Zealand has just chosen euthanasia, by a whopping majority of about 65%. By my count, that makes the Land of the Long White Cloud the fifth country to legalise euthanasia, along with the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Canada. Several American states, two Australian states, and Switzerland also have passed laws which permit assisted suicide. Campaigners against the new law conducted a survey before the referendum and found that most people knew very little about the bill. It will be interesting to see if it takes off as quickly as it has in Canada. 

Michael Cook   
Editor 

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Poland and abortion


Hi there, 

Poland has become one of the few countries where abortion is being rolled back. Its high court has ruled that nearly all terminations are unconstitutional. This is being denounced an antediluvian outrage.

However, it will be interesting to read the judgement as the majority appears to have contended that abortion for foetal defects is basically eugenics. After all, it was only last year that US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said in a dissenting opinion that “abortion is an act rife with the potential for 'eugenic manipulation'”.

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The Netherlands moves to legalise euthanasia for children


It hardly comes as a surprise, but doctors in The Netherlands may soon be able to euthanise children under 12. They are already authorised to euthanise children up to 1 year old old and over 12. And although there is no "right to die" in Spain at the moment, the current coalition government is keen to join the club of countries where euthanasia is legal. Read all about it below. 

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Strange, strange times


These are strange, strange times. Today I read an editorial in The New York Times headed, “Get Well, Mr. President”. I don’t recall ever reading words of personal concern like this before in the Times. It was very touching.

But, of course, the editorial’s theme was not only wishing him and the First Lady well, but demanding complete transparency about his health now that he has been infected with the coronavirus. We’ll be hearing a lot more about every detail of Mr Trump’s life in the next few days.

Speaking of which, I shall be taking a brief holiday this week. The next BioEdge newsletter will be on October 18.

Cheers,

Michael Cook 
Editor

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the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett


Judge Amy Coney Barrett gave a gracious acceptance speech after being nominated by President Trump to the US Supreme Court. “The flag of the United States is still flying at half staff in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to mark the end of a great American life,” she said. “She not only broke glass ceilings, but she smashed them. She was a woman of enormous talent and consequences and her life of public service serves as an example to us all.”

It was a moving tribute to RBG, but ACB is expected to help shift SCOTUS in a very different direction – more conservative, and above all, more sceptical of abortion. As I wrote before, bioethics is “at the very centre of this strange election”.

Michael Cook  
Editor 

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Don’t buy this for Christmas


Our lead story today is -- sort of -- about a Christmas gift. Specifically, one that you probably shouldn't buy for people you don't know very well: a subscription to a genealogy website. Two fertility doctors are being sued in the US after the offspring of former patients discovered that the doctors are their biological fathers. For them, and for their mothers, the news was devastating. 

This is not the first time that this has happened, of course, and the lawyer leading the lawsuit against the doctors warns that there will be many more. This despicable behaviour appears to have been common 30 or 40 years ago and 30 or 40 is the age when people start to get curious about their sperm donor fathers and buy DNA testing kits. 

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Rolling out vaccines


Sooner or later scientists will create a vaccine for Covid-19. But how will it be distributed? Securing agreement on this is going to be nearly as difficult as discovering the vaccine. Here we report on a solution by one of America's leading bioethicists, Ezekiel Emanuel. 

Michael Cook
Editor 

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