Category : Life Ethics

(BP) J.D. Greear: Sanctity of Human Life Sunday–Beware the distractions

{This week] in our nation’s capital, thousands upon thousands of people [participated] in the March for Life, the largest pro-life rally in the world. The march is built on the conviction that unborn babies are made in the image of God and, as such, they deserve the rights God has given to all people.

The conversation about abortion really should hinge on one question: Are the unborn human or not?

If so, then the reasoning behind the pro-choice cause falls apart. The arguments become “red herrings” — distractions that aren’t relevant to the issue at hand.

Here are some of the most common….

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Theology

(Ethika Politika) David Franks–On the Pro-Life Direction of Providence: The Christian Withdrawal from Killing

Students years ago heard me complain how imprecise it was to translate the Fifth Commandment as “Thou shalt not kill.” As a moral theologian, I would note that “kill” is too generic, lacking specification by a moral object. It should be “Thou shalt not murder.” And, technically, that is true.

And yet. And yet. Human killing is something we should always be in the practice of withdrawing from—in our minds, hearts, viscera, as well as in our social practice. That withdrawal belongs at the heart of the New Law of grace. Yes: grace does not destroy nature, but rather perfects it. Yes.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NIH) Francis Collins–Statement on Claim of First Gene-Edited Babies by Chinese Researcher

From there:

NIH is deeply concerned about the work just presented at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong by Dr. He Jiankui, who described his effort using CRISPR-Cas9 on human embryos to disable the CCR5 gene. He claims that the two embryos were subsequently implanted, and infant twins have been born. This work represents a deeply disturbing willingness by Dr. He and his team to flout international ethical norms. The project was largely carried out in secret, the medical necessity for inactivation of CCR5 in these infants is utterly unconvincing, the informed consent process appears highly questionable, and the possibility of damaging off-target effects has not been satisfactorily explored. It is profoundly unfortunate that the first apparent application of this powerful technique to the human germline has been carried out so irresponsibly. The need for development of binding international consensus on setting limits for this kind of research, now being debated in Hong Kong, has never been more apparent. Without such limits, the world will face the serious risk of a deluge of similarly ill-considered and unethical projects. Should such epic scientific misadventures proceed, a technology with enormous promise for prevention and treatment of disease will be overshadowed by justifiable public outrage, fear, and disgust.

Lest there be any doubt, and as we have stated previously, NIH does not support the use of gene-editing technologies in human embryos.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Science & Technology

(Metro UK) Belgian Doctors face possible jail after ‘diagnosing woman with autism so she could get lethal injection’

Three doctors will face a criminal trial in Belgium accused of certifying a woman as autistic so she could die by euthanasia.

Tina Nys died after claiming to be autistic to two doctors and a psychiatrist. She was euthanised after telling officials her suffering was ‘unbearable and incurable’, however her sisters have said that her suffering was caused by a broken heart, not autism.

In the first such case since it was decriminalised in 2002, the officials face trial accused of failing to comply with the legal conditions for euthanasia. Ms Nys’s sisters have accused the doctors of making a rushed decision without treating her for autism.

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Posted in Belgium, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics

(CBS Marketwatch) With genetically edited babies, a scientist transgresses a moral boundary

A Chinese scientist from a university in Shenzhen claims he has succeeded in creating the world’s first genetically edited babies.

He told the Associated Press that twin girls were born earlier this month after he edited their embryos using CRISPR technology to remove the CCR5 gene, which plays a critical role in enabling many forms of the HIV virus to infect cells.

We have just entered the era of designer babies. We will soon have the ability to edit embryos with the aim of eliminating debilitating diseases, selecting physical traits such as skin and eye color, or even adding extra intelligence. But our understanding of the effects of the technology is in its infancy.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology

(Premier News) Leading atheist defends aborting babies with Down’s syndrome on Premier’s ‘Big Conversation’

Aborting unborn children who have been diagnosed with Down Syndrome is a justifiable act and one that could bring greater all-round happiness to individuals and families, a leading Princeton University professor has argued.

Peter Singer, who is professor of bioethics at Princeton University and a noted moral philosopher, admits he does not regard unborn babies as having the same value as mature humans or even some animals, until they have acquired the ability to reason and have preferences.

The debate, released today, explores the basis for the value ascribed to human life and whether morality is discovered as part of the fabric of the universe and grounded in a source beyond ourselves.

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Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family

In 2009 an Anglican church was expelled from their building in Central NY under TEC Bishop Skip Adams and it became an Islamic Center for 1/3 the price the parish was willing to pay

Former Bishop of South Carolina, C. Fitzsimons Allison, has written about this matter here and described it as follows:

…nothing in the behavior of TEC suggests their goals with departing parishes and Dioceses have changed over time. They continue to litigate in the Diocese of Quincy, Illinois despite having lost at the highest level in the state courts there. In the Diocese of San Joaquin, California, after spending $15 million to recover the parish properties, only 21 have been declared “viable” with the other 25 reported as going up for sale. In Bishop Adams’ former diocese, the people of Good Shepherd, Binghamton, NY were denied the purchase of their former church, seeing it sold for 1/3 their offer to become a mosque instead. The pattern of behavior is clear. For TEC, “reconciliation” has meant, “surrender, return the property and we’ll forgive you so you can rejoin us”. That is not a viable way forward.

Posted in Ecumenical Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Stewardship, TEC Bishops

(NYT)“What? I’m pregnant. I’m still a man. You have questions? Come talk to me. You have a problem with it? Don’t be in my life.”

Paetyn, an impish 1-year-old, has two fathers. One of them gave birth to her.

As traditional notions of gender shift and blur, parents and children like these are redefining the concept of family.

Paetyn’s father Tanner, 25, is a trans man: He was born female but began transitioning to male in his teens, and takes the male hormone testosterone.

“I was born a man in a female body,” he said.

His partner and Paetyn’s biological father is David, 35, a gay man.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Life Ethics, Media, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Sexuality, Theology

(Newsroom) New Zealand Anglican Bishops are Divided on Assisted Suicide

The eight top Anglican bishops of New Zealand have come out against David Seymour’s proposed euthanasia bill but three other bishops have voiced their support.

The two very different submissions on the End of Life Choice Bill are a sign of the differences of opinion within the country’s second largest church and among its 450,000 adherents.

The eight bishops, the church’s top leaders, have told Parliament’s Justice select committee that more money should be put into palliative care and helping families looking after the terminally ill, rather than allowing euthanasia or assisted dying.

The submission – by the bishops of Dunedin, Christchurch, Waiapu, Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Te Waipounamu and Waikato/Taranaki – is one of 35,000 to the committee and among thousands made public this month.

But three other bishops – two former bishops, John Bluck and David Coles, and Assistant bishop of Auckland, Jim White – have published a contrary opinion saying for some people with a terminal illness, assisted dying “is a good and moral choice”.

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Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Wash Post) American Medical Association rejects maintaining its opposition to medically assisted death, deciding instead to keep reviewing the matter

A recommendation that the American Medical Association maintain its opposition to medically assisted death was rejected Monday, with delegates at the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago instead voting for the organization to continue reviewing its guidance on the issue.

Following a debate on whether the nation’s most prominent doctors’ group should revise its Code of Medical Ethics, the House of Delegates voted by a margin of 56 to 44 percent to have the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs keep studying the current guidance. That position, adopted a quarter-century ago, labels the practice “physician-assisted suicide” and calls it “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.”

The council spent two years reviewing resolutions, not so much on whether to support the practice but on whether to take a neutral stance on what has become a divisive issue among health-care providers. The group’s report sought to find common ground, noting, “Where one physician understands providing the means to hasten death to be an abrogation of the physician’s fundamental role as healer that forecloses any possibility of offering care that respects dignity, another in equally good faith understands supporting a patient’s request for aid in hastening a foreseen death to be an expression of care and compassion.”

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology

(Usa Today Op-ed) Daniel Payne–Assisted suicide is not about autonomy. It’s a tragedy that we shouldn’t allow

The skeptic might ask: Why object to legalized suicide, particularly where terminally ill patients are concerned? If people want to take their own lives, why should anyone feel entitled to stand in the way?

The answer is twofold. For one, we should not as a rule grant doctors the prerogative to help kill their patients. The whole history of medicine has been one of improved healing or, in terminal cases, reduced suffering; euthanasia, which devalues life to the point of liquidation, is the precise opposite of good and responsible medical care. To legalize suicide in this way is to weaponize the medical system against the very people to which it should be most attentive.

On a deeper, more substantive level, legalized suicide strikes at the heart of one of the most indispensible ideas in human history: That every human life is precious beyond reckoning and worthy of both honor and protection. Killing someone, even someone who is already dying, directly controverts this principle; you cannot inject people with fatal doses of barbiturates without declaring, however implicitly, that their lives are worth less than an artificial minimum standard.

Those who advocate for legalized suicide see it as a matter of radical autonomy: We should leave it up to each individual to determine the worth of his own life, up to and including an act of suicide. But this is simply an evasive, almost cowardly instance of passing the buck. If you are actively or even passively complicit in an act of euthanasia, you cannot say you do not, in some way, agree with the suicidal person’s assertion that his life is a waste and that he is better off dead.

It is philosophically unavoidable.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

(Recode) Designer babies are just one example of the ethical dilemmas faced by the genomics industry

We could live in a future world where people pick and choose the traits their babies have, but it may not be the right thing to do.

It’s just one of the many ethical dilemmas that Francis deSouza, CEO of genomics testing company Illumina, who was interviewed by CNBC’s Christina Farr Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. llumina sells DNA sequencing technology to companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com.

“There was a wealthy industrialist mogul from Silicon Valley who was curious about designer babies for him and his partner,” said deSouza. “With that much power, there are lots of questions that we will have to address about what it means to be human.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

(AP) Portugal considers allowing euthanasia, assisted suicide

After legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage in recent times, Portuguese lawmakers will decide Tuesday on another issue that has brought a confrontation between faith and politics in this predominantly Catholic country: whether to allow euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

The outcome of the vote is uncertain and is likely to be close, but Portugal could become one of just a handful of countries in the world to permit euthanasia under certain circumstances.

Euthanasia — when a doctor kills patients at their request — is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In Switzerland, and some U.S. states, assisted suicide — where patients administer the lethal drug themselves, under medical supervision — is permitted.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Portugal, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Irish abortion referendum: Ireland overturns abortion ban

The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%.

A referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side.

Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman’s life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality.

The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced.

The declaration was made at Dublin Castle at 18:13 local time.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by landslide to repeal Eighth Amendment

Ireland has voted by a landslide margin to change the constitution so that abortion can be legalised, according to an exit poll conducted for The Irish Times by Ipsos/MRBI.

The poll suggests that the margin of victory for the Yes side in the referendum will be 68 per cent to 32 per cent – a stunning victory for the Yes side after a long and often divisive campaign.

More than 4,500 voters were interviewed by Ipsos/MRBI as they left polling stations on Friday. Sampling began at 7am and was conducted at 160 locations across every constituency throughout the day. The margin of error is estimated at +/- 1.5 per cent.

Counting of votes begins on Saturday morning at 9am with an official result expected to be declared in the afternoon.

However, the size of the victory predicted by the exit poll leaves little doubt that, whatever the final count figures, the constitutional ban on abortion, inserted in a referendum in 1983, is set to be repealed.

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Posted in --Ireland, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(LA Times) California attorney general appeals judge’s decision to overturn physician-assisted suicide law

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Monday filed an appeal against a judge’s recent ruling overturning the state’s physician-assisted suicide law.

The controversial law, which allows terminally ill patients to request lethal medications from their doctors, has been the subject of litigation since it was enacted two years ago.

Last week, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that the law’s passage was unconstitutional and the law should be overturned.

Becerra’s action Monday moves the case to an appeals court, which will decide the future of the law. He also asked that the law stay in place while the matter is further litigated, a request that will most likely be granted, said Kathryn Tucker, an attorney who heads the End of Life Liberty Project at UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, State Government, Theology

(Guardian) ‘Our most profound moral issue’: Guernsey’s vote on assisted suicide

Opposition to the proposal has been led by churches, the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Guernsey Disabilities Alliance. A key government committee has refused to back the proposal, saying it is not a priority and investigations would be a drain on resources.

In March, the Catholic bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, sent an emotive letter to be read out in the island’s RC churches. “Let there be no death clinics in Guernsey,” it said. “I appeal to Catholics to mobilise. Speak out against this proposal. It is never permissible to do good by an evil means.”

An open letter from 53 Christian ministers and officials in Guernsey also opposed the proposal, saying it was “seen as a threat by people living with various disabilities, vulnerable people and ultimately, perhaps, by all of us, as we approach the end of our lives. Every life is a gift that is precious and worthy of defence. Living life in all its fullness will include darker times, pain and sorrow. This is part of the rich diversity and tapestry of life that also provides opportunities for care, generosity, kindness and selfless love.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Theology

A [London] times article on the forthcoming vote in Guernsey’s parliament on whether to legalise assisted suicide

Quirks such as the £1 note are a reminder that life on the quaint British dependency of Guernsey is like it is on the mainland — but not in every way. The law governing how islanders die could soon make the difference starker.

In 10 days’ time, Guernsey will vote on whether to become the first place in the British Isles to legalise assisted dying, reigniting a national debate and raising fears of Swiss-style “death clinics” in the Channel.

The bill needs the support of 21 local politicians to pass: a simple majority of the 40 who sit in the island’s parliament. None belongs to any party or bloc, so the outcome is hard to predict.

Those who have drafted the law say it is strictly designed for terminally ill residents — but opponents believe the island, used by global elites as a tax haven, could become a magnet for death tourism.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Statement from the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, on the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment in Ireland

Unquestionably, the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment raises a number of complex questions: should abortion be dealt with in the Constitution or by way of government legislation; should the fact that hundreds of Irish women already leave the state every year to procure abortions influence our response; does the fact that many terminations are already taking place in Ireland (using unregulated pills) mean abortion should be made legal; and how should Ireland’s record of failure in the care of women and children – for example in the mother and baby homes – affect the way we vote?

Often, in the past, the protection of vulnerable women and children in Ireland left a lot to be desired, but legislating now to allow the lives of the most defenceless among us to be terminated is not the answer.

Past wrongs would be better addressed by providing better pastoral care in future for women, their partners and their families; by improving support services; and by investing more in medical and mental health services. We must be compassionate in responding to those for whom pregnancy is unwelcome or traumatic, and must seek to offer a positive alternative to abortion.

The Archbishops of the Church of Ireland have stated that “unrestricted access to abortion in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, or indeed at any stage, is not an ethical position we can accept.” Nevertheless, our tradition is concerned to ensure provision for terminations in – hopefully – rare circumstances and in a safe medical setting.

People differ on where the line should be drawn….

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church of Ireland, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

The Alfie Evans Case (III)–Dominic Lawson: Parents can love, but not protect: ask Alfie Evans’s mum

This is emphatically not an argument for parents to impose quacks on seriously ill children. But the NHS has an institutional antipathy to experimental forms of cancer treatment, even in cases where it knows its own methods hold no prospect of a lasting cure. I can’t help thinking a system in which patients and their parents are not themselves paying (except compulsorily as taxpayers) encourages the attitude that they should keep quiet and be grateful for what they get.

Still, the vituperation directed at the staff of Alder Hey is unconscionable. They looked after Alfie to the very best of their ability, and must also have felt distress as his condition — the result of an inexplicable degenerative disorder that attacked the brain of an apparently healthy newborn — worsened. But for him to have ended up as, in effect, a prisoner until death of the state that had earlier removed his ventilation against his parents’ wishes is no advertisement for the English medico-legal system. It’s one thing to give up the medical fight for the child’s life; quite another to say to the parents, “But, all the same, you can’t take him away from us, either back home to die or to a foreign hospital prepared to treat him at its own expense.”

Even if such treatments are pointless — our courts had decided there was no further point in the existence of Alfie Evans — it offends against our entire idea of family to treat the feelings and wishes of loving parents as irrelevant. This love is not just the indispensable basis of a good society. Maternal love is the most powerful force in the known universe. It demands more respect than this.

That truth is about to be put before the courts in another case, in which my wife is involved. With two other mothers whose adult children, like our younger daughter, have what nowadays is called “learning difficulties”, she is bringing a test case before the Court of Protection. As the law stands, the parents of such adults, whether in residential care or not, have no right to a decisive role in how their children are treated. The carers would be obliged to give the parents such a right if the mother or father were appointed by the courts to be their adult child’s welfare deputy. But the current code stipulates that this can be agreed by courts only “in the most difficult cases”.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Alfie Evans Case (II)-Ross Douthat: Alfie Evans and the Experts

[The New Yorker’s Rachel] Aviv focuses on the Kafkaesque odyssey of Julie Belshe, a mother of three who spent years extracting her parents from the talons of a woman, April Parks, who was later indicted on charges of perjury and theft. But Parks flourished in a larger system designed around the assumption that old people are basically better off without their kids, because offspring are probably motivated either by raw emotionalism or by gimme-gimme avarice, as opposed to the cool wisdom of expert doctors, professional guardians, and wise judges.

Such a system is custom-built for the coming world of post-familialism, the world bequeathed to us by sexual individualism and thinning family trees. Just as more and more children are growing up without the active fathers who fought for Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans or the extended kinship network that saved Jahi McMath, more and more people will face old age without sons and daughters to care for them or to challenge the medical-judicial complex’s will.

It is the tragedy of our future that for many people there will be no exit from that complex, no alternative means of receiving care. But it is the task of our present to ensure that where the family still has the capacity to choose for an aging parent or a dying child, the family rather than the system gets to make the choice.

Yes, that choice may be wrong; it may have its own dark or foolish motivations. But those are risks a humane society has to take, so that in our weakest moments we can hope to be surrounded not just by knowledge or power, but by love.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family

The Alfie Evans Case (I)–Albert Mohler: Life in the Balance in Liverpool — Alfie Evans Is Not Alone

One of the most important rights throughout human history is the right of parents to make decisions concerning their children’s welfare. Almost every culture and civilization has honored this principle—formally or informally–as a basic human right and a necessary foundation for family flourishing. Western countries often recognized parental rights as natural rights—rights that cannot be compromised by government interference. But in the case of Alfie, the state is redefining parental rights so that they extend only as far as the government or other elites, such as the medical elites, determine.

Furthermore, unlike the Charlie Gard case, Alfie Evans has only been examined by one medical team or acute care team. As Charles Camosy has pointed out, those acute care teams of medical experts often make the wrong decisions regarding the inevitability of death. To put the matter bluntly, there are numerous cases in which medical authorities said an individual would surely die, but those people are still alive.

Sohrab Amari, writing for Commentary Magazine, is on point: “The medical complexities of the case, played up by the court and its defenders, serve to obscure a basic moral principle. No one is asking the UK National Health Service to expend extraordinary measures to keep Alfie alive. All Alfie’s parents ask is to be allowed to seek treatment elsewhere, again at Italian expense, even if such treatment proves to be futile in the end.” The same principle, says Amari, was at stake in last year’s Charlie Gard case. Once more, British courts have distorted the relevant legal standard, the best interest of the child, to usurp natural rights. This disturbing point is a political issue, to be sure. But natural rights are pre-political. Governments do not invent or grant natural rights. The rightful role of government is to respect and protect the rights that exist prior to the state and its laws.

If the state does not recognize parental rights as natural rights and government authorities and elites can subvert the will of parents, then we’re going to witness a long succession of cases just like Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans—and not just in Great Britain.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family

(Economist) is the Assisted Suicide Advocacy Movement gaining Momentum in the USA?

Three years ago John Radcliffe, a jovial retired lobbyist in Hawaii, was diagnosed with terminal stage four colon and liver cancer. He has since undergone 60 rounds of chemotherapy but doctors suspect he has just six more months to live. His illness often leaves him feeling exhausted but, undeterred, he has spent the past few years pushing to pass one last bill: Hawaii’s “Our Care, Our Choice Act”, which allows doctors to assist terminally ill patients who wish to die. Earlier this month, as Mr Radcliffe beamed behind him in a colourful lei, Hawaii’s governor signed the bill into law making Hawaii the seventh American jurisdiction to approve an assisted-dying law.

Like the laws in California, Washington, Vermont, Colorado and Washington, DC, Hawaii’s law is modelled on legislation in Oregon, which was the first state to allow assisted dying, in 1997. It permits an adult, who two doctors agree has less than six months to live and is mentally sound, to request lethal medication. The most commonly used drug is secobarbital, a barbiturate that induces sleep and eventually death by slowing the brain and nervous system. It is usually prescribed in the form of about 100 capsules that must be individually opened and mixed into liquid—a process advocates say averts accidental overdoses. The patient must take the medication themselves, without aid, but they can choose when and where to do so. Death with Dignity, an Oregon-based pressure group, estimates that 90% of the recipients of this service end their lives at home.

Legislatures in 24 other states are considering similar bills this year. Most will flounder. In 2017, 27 states debated assisted dying. None approved it. Still, the right-to-die movement seems likely to gather momentum. Between 1997 and 2008, Oregon was the only state that allowed doctors to let some patients hasten their deaths. In the decade since, six other jurisdictions have legalised assisted dying, either through legislation or ballot initiatives. Advocates are hopeful that Nevada, New Jersey and Massachusetts might soon follow….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(NC Register) Hawaii becomes the seventh state to legalize physician-assisted suicide

“Nana, how is suicide okay for some people, but not for people like me?”

Eva Andrade’s teenage grandson, who had previously been hospitalized for suicidal ideation, had asked his grandmother that question recently: Hawaii became the seventh state to legalize physician-assisted suicide April 5, a year after a previous legislative attempt.

Proponents claimed the law would give people with terminal illnesses (and a diagnosis of less than six months to live) the personal autonomy to make that decision. The teenager did not see why the circumstances made a big difference for one group having the legal right to end life on their own terms, while others did not.

“This is a 15-year-old child making this connection on his own, just based on the conversations he was hearing,” Andrade said.

Andrade, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Catholic Conference, told the Register that the “Our Care, Our Choices Act,” which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019, threatens negative social repercussions and will have a “very detrimental effect on our community.”

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, State Government, Theology

(Crux) Vatican stages UN event to protest ‘genocide’ against Down Syndrome

While the United Nations has a stated commitment to protecting and promoting the lives of those with Down Syndrome, the Holy See believes some in the international community are abetting what one Washington Post columnist recently termed a “genocide” against such individuals.

At a United Nations event on Tuesday in anticipation of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the apostolic nuncio to the United Nations, charged delegates with failing to uphold protections enshrined in international agreements to protect those with disabilities.

“Despite the commitments made in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights, including that of the right to life, by all persons with disabilities, so many members of the international community stand on the sidelines as the vast majority of those diagnosed with Trisomy-21 have their lives ended before they’re even born,” Auza said.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Theology

(WSJ) Cardinal Timothy Dolan–Why are the Democrats Abandoning Roman Catholics?

The values Archbishop Hughes and Dolores Grier cherished—the dignity and sanctity of human life, the importance of Catholic schools, the defense of a baby’s civil rights—were, and still are, widely embraced by Catholics. This often led Catholics to become loyal Democrats. I remember my own grandmother whispering to me, “We Catholics don’t trust those Republicans.”

Such is no longer the case, a cause of sadness to many Catholics, me included. The two causes so vigorously promoted by Hughes and Grier—the needs of poor and middle-class children in Catholic schools, and the right to life of the baby in the womb—largely have been rejected by the party of our youth. An esteemed pro-life Democrat in Illinois, Rep. Dan Lipinski, effectively was blacklisted by his own party. Last year, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez insisted that pro-life candidates have no place in the modern Democratic Party.

It is particularly chilly for us here in the state Hughes and Grier proudly called their earthly home. In recent years, some Democrats in the New York state Assembly repeatedly blocked education tax credit legislation, which would have helped middle-class and low-income families make the choice to select Catholic or other nonpublic schools for their children. Opposing the bill reduces the ability of fine Catholic schools across the state to continue their mission of serving the poor, many of them immigrants.

More sobering, what is already the most radical abortion license in the country may soon be even more morbidly expanded. For instance, under the proposed Reproductive Health Act, doctors would not be required to care for a baby who survives an abortion. The newborn simply would be allowed to die without any legal implications. And abortions would be legal up to the moment of birth.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Wash Post) In Oregon, pushing for assisted suicide for patients with degenerative diseases

Relatively modest drives are afoot in Washington state and California, where organizations have launched education campaigns on how people can fill out instructions for future caregivers to withhold food and drink, thereby carrying out an option that is legal to anybody: death by starvation and dehydration. (It is often referred to as the “voluntarily stopping eating and drinking” method.)

The boldest bid is taking place in Quebec. Prompted by a 2017 murder case involving the apparent “mercy killing” of a 60-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s by her husband — who smothered her with a pillow — the provincial government is studying the possibility of legalizing euthanasia for Alzheimer’s patients. Unlike medically assisted suicide, a medical doctor would administer the fatal dose via injection. A survey in September found that 91 percent of the Canadian province’s medical caregivers support the idea.

“The process that could lead to [legislative] changes has already begun,” said Marie-Claude Lacasse, a spokeswoman for the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Somewhere between these points is Oregon, where several lawmakers are trying to push the right-to-die envelope.

Under the current law, eligible patients can obtain prescriptions for lethal barbiturates. Qualified patients must be diagnosed with a terminal illness, have a prognosis of six or fewer months to live, and self-ingest the drug. The vast majority — more than 70 percent, according to the Oregon Health Authority — have cancer; most others have either heart disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(WSJ) DeSanctis Alexandra–Notre Dame Becomes a Bit Less Catholic

The University of Notre Dame caved in. It will partly obey the Obama Care mandate requiring employer health-care plans to cover the cost of contraceptives and abortifacient drugs. Rejecting the Trump administration’s religious exemption, Notre Dame announced last month that it will provide “simple contraceptives” to students and employees through its insurance program.

Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, deserves praise for discontinuing coverage of abortifacients. Yet he justified the birth-control decision by saying, in part, that Catholic tradition requires respect for “the conscientious decisions of members of our community.” Of course, Notre Dame community members can exercise their consciences without receiving university-provided contraception. And there is also the serious possibility that Notre Dame abused the legal process when it sued the Obama administration for relief. If the university had standing on religious-freedom grounds, how can it now explain its decision to facilitate coverage of birth control?

While these issues are concerning, as a graduate of Our Lady’s university, I take the recent news personally. I chose to attend Notre Dame because its essential Catholicism makes​it different from other outstanding American universities. Serious young Catholics may no longer look at Notre Dame the way I did, and with good reason.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(CT) America’s Surrogacy Bump: Is Fertility a Blessing to Be Shared?

[Meg] Watwood is part of America’s rapidly growing surrogacy movement. The number of babies born through surrogacy in the United States, though still relatively small, has quadrupled in just over a decade. And despite ethical questions surrounding the practice, demand isn’t slowing.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, surrogates gave birth to 2,807 babies in 2015, up from 738 in 2004. Nearly all were conceived by IVF and carried by women with no genetic connection, a process called “gestational surrogacy.” (In “traditional surrogacy,” the only option prior to IVF but one rarely used today, the carrier would also be the genetic mother of the baby.)

IVF and surrogacy are becoming more normalized in the US just as other countries have shut down foreign surrogacy enterprises, dual trends that have made the US a top surrogacy destination. High demand for surrogates, who typically earn more than $20,000 per birth, has attracted many evangelical women, who often fit the profile of the “ideal” surrogate and are drawn to the idea of using their fertility to bless others.

But laws and ethical discussions surrounding surrogacy haven’t kept up with the industry’s growth, and pastors and churches appear largely ill-equipped to guide women and couples through the high-stakes decisions involved in third-party reproduction.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(Anglican Taonga) New Zealand Anglican leaders speak out against a proposed euthanasia Bill

Eight Anglican bishops have called for a halt to the End of Life Choice Bill, which proposes legalising medically-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In their submission to the Justice Select Committee on David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill this week, the bishops recommended no change to existing laws, and called for more funding of palliative care and counselling support for patients and their whanau.

Rather than introducing assisted dying as proposed in the Bill, the bishops believe our government should ensure New Zealanders have access to the best quality palliative and psycho-social care when faced with terminal illness.

They cite Australian doctor Karen Hitchcock who in her 12 years of work in large public hospitals has often heard patients express a wish to die, but says the cause of that desire is seldom physical pain,

“[It] is often because of despair, loneliness, grief, the feeling of worthlessness, meaninglessness or being a burden. I have never seen a patient whose physical suffering was untreatable,” she said.

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Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics