By Brendan Foht, Witherspoon Institute
By Brendan Foht, Witherspoon Institute
By Bill Muehlenberg, MercatorNet
The new Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) have allowed the creation of brave new families. Whereas earlier it took a man and a woman to produce a child, now there are all sorts of combinations available. A child can be manufactured with any number of players involved.
Indeed, a child can have three, four, five, or six different “parents” involved in his or her creation. And sadly, a child can have no parent – at least no actual biological parent to grow up with. Or quite often it is just one biological parent. Thus the child is robbed of the most important right he or she can ever have – to be born in and raised by a biological mother and father.
In the past it was seen as a tragedy if this occurred. If an accident took place, or a parent died or deserted, societies did all they could to remedy the situation. Adoption for example was meant to help the abandoned or orphaned child to come into as close a two-parent family as possible.
Through no fault of their own, many people found themselves being single parents. Thus unfortunate situations were dealt with as best they could be to look after the child. But today we deliberately are bringing children into the world knowing they will not have their own mum and dad.
Given the overwhelming research we have on the importance of a mother and a father in a child’s development, such deliberately chosen social experiments are in fact a type of child neglect, if not abuse. And this is happening more and more often with ART.
By Alana S Newman
I am the daughter of a sperm donor. For a long time I didn’t understand how this had negatively impacted my life, until I read David Blankenhorn’s Fatherless America. It was like stepping into a series of scenes from my adolescence. Never before had someone so eloquently and acutely described my personal struggles. I now staunchly defy the pro donor-conception script I was expected to embrace. Two years ago I asked for David’s help in creating The Anonymous Us Project—an anonymous story collective for people involved with Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ART), and he obliged. Through the stories I’ve received on my site and the research I have read, I am convinced that I am not alone in my struggles being donor-conceived.
So I was surprised with David’s new stance on same-sex marriage as described in his recent New York Times piece. I feel he underestimates, inter alia, the rapid expansion of donor-conception that will accompany same-sex marriage, and with it, many of the social ills he so diligently describes in Fatherless America.
David pivots his resistance to same-sex marriage because his desire to enhance the public’s understanding of marriage as it is related to parenthood has “largely failed to persuade.” He says that, “In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens.” But in his conclusion he asks, “Can we discuss whether both gays and straight people should think twice before denying children born through artificial reproductive technology the right to know and be known by their biological parents?”
This final remark suggests that anonymity is the only problem with ART. It is true that straight people started ART, but same-sex marriage will increase the demand for sperm and egg donors—inherently denying children access to one or both of their natural parents.
By Thaddeus Baklinski, LifeSite News
The director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office has defended statements made by Archbishop-elect of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia. In which he argued that society has been silent when it comes to the health risks and dangers of the homosexual lifestyle.
[...] Kearney pointed out that the substance of Tartaglia’s statement was that there is “something of a conspiracy of silence around the vast array of medical evidence that exists to suggest that same-sex behavior is hazardous, is harmful, and is dangerous.”
“And the wider question really is as a society why don’t we debate that? Why don’t we have that discussion in the same way, for example, that we’ve been happy to look at how smoking, how alcohol, how over-eating, how drug addiction can cause harms to people’s health?”
By Wendy Wright, Turtle Bay & Beyond
June 21st, 2012 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off
By Donna Bowater, Telegraph
NHS hospitals are using end-of-life care to help elderly patients to die because they are difficult to look after and take up valuable beds, a top doctor has warned.
Professor Patrick Pullicino has claimed that doctors are using a care pathway designed to help make people's final days more comfortable as an equivalent to euthanasia.
By Kathleen Gilbert, LifeSite News
For children of anonymous sperm donors yearning for a connection to their biological father, the world can be an unwelcome place.
June 16th, 2012 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off
By John Smeaton, SPUC
SPUC has responded to the General Medical Council's consultation on personal beliefs, which closes today. SPUC's submission can be read here.
In our submission, SPUC said:
By George Pitcher, Mailonline
As so often with those who support euthanasia, the British Medical Journal's support for this hideous practice, which has attracted much attention this week, is not all it seems.
For starters, the BMJ has form in supporting idiotic medical causes and, while it is sent to the British Medical Association's members for free, most doctors no longer take it very seriously.
This week's edition carries a piece by Ray Tallis, chairman of the oxymoronic pressure group Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying.
Mr Tallis, like eccentric sci-fi writer and pro-euthanasia campaigner Sir Terry Pratchett, has a penchant for flamboyant hats and a full beard.
Why this should be the chosen image for the leading lights of euthanasia is beyond me, but there we are. Perhaps Mr Tallis models himself on Sir Terry's fictional world.
Anyway, dedicated follower of fashion Mr Tallis calls for the BMA to adopt a position of 'studied neutrality' on euthanasia and good luck to him.
He's entitled to throw his colourful hat into the ring and join beards with Pratchett. Following suit, the BMJ's editor, Fiona Godlee, supports his view in the mag's leader column.
By Peter Saunders, CMF
The British Medical Journal this week contains three articles aimed at neutralising medical opposition to euthanasia.
The BMJ, which remains editorially independent from the British Medical Association, but is sent to all members, has a long track record of backing liberal causes, amongst them the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
A comment piece from Ray Tallis, chairman of the pressure group ‘Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying’ (HPAD) calls for the BMA and Royal Medical Colleges to take a position of ‘studied neutrality’ on euthanasia.
An emotive ‘personal view’ by Tess McPherson, relates the story of the death of her mother Ann, an Oxfordshire GP who died from cancer of the pancreas last year and was the founder of HPAD.
Finally the journal’s editorial by Fiona Godlee, ‘supports’ HPAD’s call.
The BMJ sought wide exposure for the articles by sending out an embargoed press release yesterday ensuring that the story would get prominent media coverage (See Daily Mail, Daily Express, Press Association and Evening Standard).
by Peter Saunders, CMF
According to a new report from Christian Concern, the General Medical Council (GMC) has today decided to continue disciplinary proceedings against a Christian GP, despite the fact that the patient who made the complaint has refused for two years to give evidence face to face. The BBC has also reported on the case.
Dr Richard Scott, who works at Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, was first reported to the GMC in September 2010 for discussing his Christian faith with a patient at the end of a private consultation.
Following the complaint, Dr Scott, was threatened with an Official Warning by the GMC, which he refused to accept.
As well as deciding to continue with the proceedings, the GMC has today also made the extraordinary decision that part of the case will be held in secret. The press and the public will be barred from attending, and Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, has been specifically excluded from attending the hearings to support Dr Scott.
by Michael Giesler, MercatorNet
Catholic institutions are suing the Obama administration over its contraception mandate. A Catholic priest explains why the Church opposes the pill.
Last month dozens of Catholic institutions in the United States filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, challenging the constitutionality of its contraception mandate. There can be little doubt that requiring employers to provide a drug that violates their conscience is against the First Amendment. It violates one of the main reasons for the founding of our country: religious freedom.
But the underlying problem is far deeper than a constitutional or historical issue. The fact is that the federal government has absolutely no right to mandate a drug that is really not a health benefit for anyone, but a health danger — for the woman, and certainly for the little human life inside of her.
The truth is that the contraceptive pill actually alters a human organ and destroys its natural function within the reproductive system of a woman. It is completely different from cancer treatment, or medicines for bodily diseases. It is not medicinal, or health-giving. Other drugs exist to restore or strengthen the organs of the body, or eliminate a toxic element. Not so the contraceptive pill.
By Stephen Adams, Telegraph
Scientists could soon be able to routinely screen unborn babies for thousands of genetic conditions, raising concerns the breakthrough could lead to more abortions.
A team has been able to predict the whole genetic code of a foetus by taking a blood sample from a woman who was 18 weeks pregnant, and a swab of saliva from the father.
They believe that, in time, the test will become widely available, enabling doctors to screen unborn babies for some 3,500 genetic disorders.
At the moment the only genetic disorder routinely tested for on the NHS is Down’s syndrome. This is a large-scale genetic defect caused by having an extra copy of a bundle of DNA, called a chromosome.
Other such faults are sometimes tested for, but usually only when there is a risk of inheriting them from a parent.
By contrast, the scientists say their new test would identify far more conditions, caused by genetic errors.
However, they warned it raised “many ethical questions” because the results could be used as a basis for abortion.
By Peter Saunders, CMF
The General Medical Council (GMC) is currently consulting on a range of new guidance to doctors.
Overall there are no less than nine separate documents up for discussion.
The most contentious and controversial of these is ‘Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice’ (PBMP), which deals with both faith-related discussions within a medical consultation and also conscientious objection.
The new draft of PBMP imposes new restrictions on doctors’ expression of personal beliefs and new duties to provide gender reassignment to transgender patients and contraception to the unmarried. It also requires doctors to participate in referral for abortion in some circumstances.
The review is crucially important because, once finalised (definitive drafts will be published in November), this guidance will be the basis on which doctors are judged and those who breach the rules will be at risk of disciplinary proceedings and losing their medical registration.
by Jonathan Petre, Mailonline
David Cameron has thrown his weight behind a controversial technique to prevent incurable hereditary diseases that will result in the birth of children with three parents.
The Prime Minister urged Health Department officials to accelerate the testing of a new IVF procedure that could eradicate devastating genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy.
It involves taking the nucleus out of the egg of a mother carrying faulty mitochondria – the ‘batteries’ that power cells – and transferring it into a healthy egg donated by another woman, resulting in a disease-free baby.
But it means the child would contain genetic material not only from his or her mother and father but also from the donor, though scientists say only tiny amounts would come from the third party.
A fierce ethical row will erupt when the Government launches a public consultation within weeks on whether to permit the technique, which critics claim could create ‘hybrid’ children.
Dr. Byron Calhoun makes these charges in "Abortion and Preterm Birth: Why Medical Journals Aren't Giving Us The Real Picture,” released by C-FAM (publisher of the Friday Fax).
By Sophie Borland, Mailonline
The number of women in their 30s having an abortion has soared – fuelling concerns that many assume they can continue with their careers before later resorting to IVF.
Terminations carried out on those aged 30 to 34 has increased by nearly 6 per cent – a steeper rise than in any other age group.
In contrast, abortions carried out on women under 20 has fallen, figures by the Department of Health show.
Experts said one reason was many 30-something women believe they could delay motherhood by using IVF in their 40s.
By Ed West, Catholic Herald
Bishop Tom Williams, auxiliary bishop of Liverpool, has criticised draft guidance by the General Medical Council (GMC) on the role of belief in medical practice.
The bishop, chairman of the bishops’ conference Healthcare Reference Group, said he would “strongly encourage Catholic doctors who work in the health service, and all those who have an interest as patients, carers or potential patients” to respond to a consultation on the draft.
The guidance, entitled “Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice”, was issued last month and is subject to consultation.
Bishop Williams said: “The draft consultation document does not have a balanced or positive appreciation of the value of religion for patients or for the importance of requiring, and hence permitting, doctors to make conscientious ethical decisions. Both religion and conscientious objection seem to be treated as problems to be minimised and circumscribed as much as possible. However, this attitude is incompatible with respect for the religious beliefs of patients and with a commitment to their best interests.”
He also spoke of an “atmosphere of fear” in which doctors were scared of expressing religious belief to patients.
By Jill Kirby, Conservative Home
May 22nd, 2012 Jill Posted in Medical Ethics Comments Off
By Stephen Adams, Telegraph
Same-sex couples will be given the same rights as heterosexual couples under guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
The NHS will also extend the upper age limit for IVF by three years to 42, following advice that suggests many women in their late 30s and early 40s could conceive after treatment.
The move will see thousands of women a year given the chance to become mothers without having to pay up to £8,000 to private clinics.
Fertility experts also questioned whether health authorities could afford to widen eligibility criteria, when only a quarter currently fund three cycles of IVF for infertile couples, as recommended by Nice.
Gedis Grudzinskas, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Barts and the Royal London Hospital, said that while the new guidance reflects "social changes" there were questions over whether NHS trusts could afford it.