Major US doctors group opposes physician-assisted suicide

The American College of Physicians, the second-largest physician group in the United States with 152,000 members, has declared that physician-assisted suicide is unethical.

The ACP takes a forthright stand with supporting appendicies covering most of the arguments for and against physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Its conclusion is:

The ACP does not support the legalization of physician-assisted suicide, the practice of which raises ethical, clinical, and other concerns. The ACP and its members, including those who might lawfully participate in the practice, should ensure that all patients can rely on high-quality care through to the end of life,… click here to read whole article and make comments

Bioethicists: get rich quick!

Bioethics is a career in which financial rewards do not figure prominently. However, if you have made significant contributions to the fieild, here’s your chance to win US$1 million. One of the three 2018 Dan David Prizes will be awarded to “an outstanding individual or organization in any field of the humanities or social sciences who have transformed our understanding of the moral and ethical significance of biological and medical innovations in our times.”

The Dan David Prize is an unusual, but lucrative, prize headquartered at Tel Aviv University which promotes “innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional… click here to read whole article and make comments

British childbirth doctors back decriminalised abortion

The professional body representing British obstetricians and gynaecologists has chosen to support the decriminalisation of abortion. The ruling council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) voted to change the College’s position from neutrality to support.

While abortion-on-demand is effectively legal in Britain, sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 still remain on the books. Occasionally doctors are hauled before courts if they have not observed all the regulations.

Supporters of the change argue that it is more symbolic than practical, as all of the regulations would remain in place, such as… click here to read whole article and make comments

Is a defence of female genital cutting possible?

Female genital mutilation (or circumcision, or cutting) is reviled as one of the most egregious violations of human rights. But hundreds of millions of women have undergone some of form of FGC and there is fierce resistance to eliminating the traditional practice. Is it possible to reconcile it with human rights?

Writing in the journal Developing World Bioethics, a German bioethicist teaching in Lithuania, John-Steward Gordon, of Vytauto Didziojo University, believes that a compromise is possible. He contends that “one form of FGC, the removal of the clitoris foreskin, can be made compatible with the high demands… click here to read whole article and make comments

Spanish researcher snagged in stem cell research fraud

The biggest-ever fraud in Spanish science is coming to light – and like other recent frauds, it centres on stem cell research.

Earlier this week the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology retracted a 2003 paper by Susana Gonzalez, an experienced researcher at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Spain. It explained in a brief note: “After publication, this article was found to have problematic figures. Digital experts have informed us that some of the published data in this paper were very likely digitally manipulated.”

This is the fifth paper by Gonzalez which has been retracted. Other retracted… click here to read whole article and make comments

5% of Japanese babies from IVF

The latest figures show that 1 in 20 Japanese babies born in 2015 began life in an IVF clinic.

According to a survey by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JSOG) there were a record 424,151 IVF procedures in 2015, resulting in 51,001 births, also a record.

From 1983, when IVF was first performed in Japan, to 2015, 482,600 children have been born with the procedure.

About 40% of women who go through IVF are over 40 nowadays even though the chance of having a baby is low – 9.1% for 40-year-olds and 4.5% for 42-year-olds.

Infertility treatment… click here to read whole article and make comments

20 years of assisted suicide in Oregon

Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act (DWDA) is the benchmark for proposals for assisted suicide legislation around the world. Peter Singer cites it in a recent article supporting assisted suicide in the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales. So the latest statistics from Oregon – 20 years after it was legalised in 1997 – are carefully scrutinised.

An article published this week in Annals of Internal Medicine surveys these two decades. In this time, 0.2% of deaths in Oregon were attributable to physician-assisted suicide. The number is small, but it is increasing steadily. According to a report in… click here to read whole article and make comments

Assisted suicide debated in Australia

While currently overshadowed by an even more contentious debate over same-sex marriage, proposals for legalising assisted suicide are bubbling away in Australia.

This week, bills were introduced in the states of Victoria and New South Wales, each of them described as having the strongest safeguards ever against abuse. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that "This legislation will deliver the safest model in the world, with the most stringent checks and balances.” And in NSW, parliatmentarian Trevor Khan said his private member’s bill was "the most safeguarded process of any voluntary assisted dying scheme presently available in the world".

click here to read whole article and make comments

How far does a right to a child extend?

Photo by KEVIN SULLIVAN / Orange County Register

Another instalment in the Reproductive Revolution, this time from California and Georgia. In 2015, 51-year-old Chester Shannon Moore Jr engaged a surrogate mother in California through a broker. He was an unusual would-be father. He is a lifelong bachelor, is deaf and dumb, and even struggles with sign language. But the surrogate, Melissa Cook, was not phased. She had found the experience of surrogacy fulfilling and would earn at least US$30,000. Besides, she said, “Why should a single man who is deaf, be excluded from having a family… click here to read whole article and make comments

First interdisciplinary study of Belgian euthanasia published

A book from Cambridge University Press to be released next week takes a critical look at euthanasia in Belgium. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium features essays on legal, philosophical and medical issues, as well as how euthanasia affects vulnerable populations, with a number of authors from Belgium and the UK.

The editors, David Albert Jones, of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford; Chris Gastmans, of the Faculty of Medicine at KU Leuven in  Belgium; and Calum MacKellar, of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, say that the volume is the first interdisciplinary study of Belgian euthanasia. The authors… click here to read whole article and make comments

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