As is our tradition, here are the annual winners and losers as we see it here at the CBC.
California Governor Jerry Brown: While there were bills he signed into law that we disagree with, Gov. Brown is a winner this year because of his veto of AB 926. It was a true David and Goliath battle to keep in place the current law, which prohibits women from being compensated for their eggs for scientific research. When we received the news of his veto, I wept for joy! Read his opening sentence and you will see why.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal: Here also for a veto we give a governor winner status. Senate Bill 162 would have established a legal framework to permit surrogacy contract pregnancies in Louisiana. Gov. Jindal acknowledged the profound impact such contracts have on the family and said such changes need “heightened scrutiny.” He even gave the CBC a shout out in his veto letter, which you can read here (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page at the link)!
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: It’s a winning year for Governors! Christie went on record saying he opposes the New Jersey “Death with Dignity Act.” CBC has been involved this past year as part of a national coalition to work with a wide variety of groups to educate in opposition to physician assisted suicide, so it is refreshing to see a Governor opposing such a bill.
Narelle Grech: A bittersweet winner award goes to Narelle, born via anonymous sperm donation. She searched for 15 years to find her biological father, known only to her as T5. Her search was even more urgent as she was battling cancer. Before her death on March 26, she found Ray Tonna, and as you will see in this video, Narelle had a joyous meeting with him.
India: Yes, one of the centers of the international surrogacy world is a winner for finally tightening up their surrogacy laws. Now you must be a married heterosexual couple and come from a country that recognizes children born via surrogacy as citizens. India’s new laws are not nearly good enough, but we will give them winner status for at least moving in the right direction.
“Made-to-Order Embryos for Sale—A Brave New World?” An article published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine by I. Glenn Cohen, J.D. and Eli Y. Adashi, M.D., argued that the production and sale of human embryos is not any different than the sale of eggs and sperm. Manufacturing human embryos and then selling them—that’s a loser of an idea!
Human cloning: In the June 6, 2013, issue of the scientific journal Cell, researchers announced that they had successfully created cloned embryonic stem cells genetically identical to the person from whom skin cells were taken. Ethical problems arise from making human clones as well as from exploiting women for their eggs for research. The paper disclosed that 10 women were paid to “donate” more than 120 eggs.
Belgium: Lawmakers have moved forward in expanding euthanasia laws to allow minors and those with dementia the right to request euthanasia. The director of pro-euthanasia Exit International, Dr. Philip Nitschke, applauded the Belgians for their “progressive thinking.” This is not a compassionate law, but the codifying of killing of the weak and vulnerable by a profession that used to swear to do no harm.
Australia: Health authorities have allowed genetic testing of embryos in order to screen out and reduce the chance of having a child with autism. However, there is no genetic test for autism, so the screening is in reality simply sex determination since boys are “at least four times more likely” to have autism. This is nothing more than a search and destroy mission to weed out children with possible imperfections.
CC-BY-SA Derek Humphrey
Derek Humphrey: founder of the Hemlock Society, author of the book Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying, and Chairman of the Final Exit Advisory Board, Humphrey is taking his work up a notch. No longer happy just assisting the dying and hastening death, he now seeks to expand his efforts to assisting the mentally ill in dying. Deadly mission creep for sure!
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- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.