Belgian authorities investigating allegedly illegal euthanasia deaths

Officials in the Belgian city of Leuven are investigating about ten euthanasia cases which may not have been done legally.

The public prosecutor was tipped off by an anonymous letter to the De Standaard newspaper. Until the investigation has been completed, police are keeping mum.

The letter says: “Our family member passed away two years ago, and we were told that euthanasia was presumed to have been carried out without the doctors informing us or following the necessary procedure. This is a very traumatic experience for us.”

Doctors are not required to notify the family if a person wants… MORE





European Parliament condemns Poland’s conservative stand on abortion

Europe is ganging up on Poland to get it to support legal abortion. On Thursday the European Parliament strongly condemned a recent decision by the country’s supreme court and urged its government to stop restricting women's sexual and reproductive health rights.

A total of 455 MEPs voted in favour of the non-binding resolution, with 145 opposing and 17 abstentions.

In October Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortions for reasons of foetal abnormality violate the Polish constitution. Since 1,074 of the 1,110 legal abortions in Poland in 2019 were done for this reason (many of them for conditions like Down… MORE





Marie Stopes’s most famous memorial scrubs her name off the brand 

Just as slavery is the Achilles heel of 19th century institutions, eugenics is the weak point of abortion providers. The Black Lives Matter movement has unearthed links to slavery in public statuary and founders of American universities. Similarly, Planned Parenthood has had to distance itself from Margaret Sanger and the name of a former president of the University of Southern California has been expunged from its buildings.

But nobody has a bigger public relations challenge than Marie Stopes International. This is a British outfit with 13,000 employees which claims to be “one of the world’s largest providers of high quality,… MORE





Will Covid-19 dethrone ‘autonomy’ as the dominant principle of bioethics?

What will bioethics look like after Covid-19? The experience of lockdowns, social isolation, fear of an invisible enemy, deference to experts, and dependence could change perceptions of how we approach ethical dilemmas.

Ruth Chadwick, co-editor of the journal Bioethics, muses in a recent editorial on the vehemence of public opinion about lockdown. “A survey undertaken by the UK think tank Demos found that 12% of mask wearers said they ‘hate’ those who do not wear face coverings, while 14% of lockdown respecters expressed the same emotion towards rule breakers.”

What does this suggest about the principles of bioethics?… MORE





Have the Swiss smuggled religion into their constitution?

Switzerland has some of the strictest laws in the world for care of animals. Goldfish, for instance, being social animals, must have companions in their bowls. This concern for animals and even plants stems from a 1992 referendum to amend the Swiss constitution to protect “human dignity” (Article 119) and the dignity of creatures (Article 120).

These amendments have been unpopular in some circles as they hamper the development of human reproductive technology and biotechnology.

An American lawyer, James Toomey, has published “the first English-language study of the Swiss constitutional concept of dignity as a coherent, unified concept that… MORE





China breaks up organ-donor racket

Four high-ranking doctors have been jailed in China after they were found guilty of illegally harvesting human organs. A court in the eastern city of Bengpu passed a sentence of between 10 and 28 months in jail on the charge of “insulting a body”.

Organ donation is a sensitive topic in China. Five years ago the government officially ended its policy of retrieving organs from executed prisoners and established a voluntary donation system. However, there are constant allegations that prisoners, even political prisoners, are used as sources for organ transplants. Now it appears that a black market in organs… MORE





Unknown hackers break into database of fertility clinics

Data security at U.S. Fertility, the largest network of fertility clinics in the United States, with 55 clinics in 10 states, was attacked by cybercriminals in August and September. First, some files containing names, addresses, dates of birth and, in some cases, a Social Security number were copied. Then, the hacker engaged in a ransomware attack.

This is an attack in which hackers lock users out and then demand payment to allow restoration of the system. If the ransom is not paid, hackers often threaten to publish the stolen data.

U.S. Fertility said the attack may have included… MORE





Can we synthesise Christianity moral theology with secular bioethics?

A thought-provoking target article in the latest edition of The American Journal of Bioethics considers how Christian theological concepts might enrich secular bioethical discourse. Authors Michael McCarthy (Loyola University), Mary Homan (Medical College of Wisconsin) and Michael Rozier (Saint Louis University) argue that the Christian concepts of human dignity, sin, and the common good can bring analytical depth and clarity to discussions in a range of bioethical subfields, including debates clinical ethics, research ethics and public health ethics.

In essence, they claim that: “a Christian approach to bioethics can augment bioethical discourse by providing a thick theological description of… MORE





Dutch doctors cleared to euthanise dementia patients who have advance directives

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.

The doctor, Marinou Arends, euthanised a 74-year-old woman, even though she was resisting, on the basis of advance care directives which she had written before she entered the nursing home. Although the doctor had secretly sedated her, the woman still had to be held down by her son-in-law so that she could be given… MORE





Euthanasia as an option for Canadian nursing home patients who are sick of lockdowns

A final family get-together with Nancy Russell / ctvnews.ca  

This is just one story amongst many but it raises serious questions. A 90-year-old woman, Nancy Russell, chose euthanasia last month in Toronto. She was not suffering unbearable pain. She was just sick and tired of lockdown isolation in her nursing home.

According to a report in CTVNews, “Residents eat meals in their rooms, have activities and social gatherings cancelled, family visits curtailed or eliminated. Sometimes they are in isolation in their small rooms for days. These measures, aimed at saving lives, can sometimes be detrimental enough to… MORE




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