1. The UK House of Commons Green Lights Three Parent Embryos
On Tuesday, the House of Commons in the United Kingdom voted to allow the creation of three parent embryos in hopes of preventing mitochondrial diseases. Such a move comes despite the fact that there is serious concern over the safety of this technique. As Stuart Newman, professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College writes, “Combining fragments of two damaged eggs to produce a human embryo is, despite the rhetoric of mitochondrial ‘transfer’ or ‘replacement,’ large-scale manipulation of nuclear genes.” Sadly, all of this enthusiasm over 3 parent embryos ignores the fact that many eggs will be needed from healthy women too. We encourage all citizens who want to put an end to this human genetic engineering to sign this petition.
2. New York and Maryland Join Push for Physician Assisted Suicide
Lawmakers in Maryland and a shady mix of lawyers and terminally ill patients in New York filed a law suit in the NY Supreme Court, with the intent to legalize physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill in their respective states. Both efforts are part of the new momentum behind physician-assisted suicide following the tragic case of Brittany Maynard, the 29 year old who very publicly chose to utilize such measures to end her own life following her diagnosis of glioblastoma. Shame on all of the parties involved for violating the first principle of medicine, to do no harm.
3. Bill to Commercialize Surrogacy in New Jersey Passes State Senate
New Jersey—the birthplace of commercial surrogacy chaos—passed a bill yesterday in their state senate that would legalize the practice of surrogacy. In 2012, Governor Christie vetoed similar legislation stating “the profound change in the traditional beginnings of the family that this bill will enact.” Nothing about the practice of surrogacy has changed since then, only the politics. If the bill passes the state assembly, let us hope the Governor once more has the courage to stand on the side of vulnerable women and children and isn’t swayed by commerce.
4. Victoria Approves “Therapeutic” Cloning
Victoria became the first state in Australia to approve “therapeutic” cloning, allowing human embryos to be used for stem cell research. Such a move will increase the demand for donor eggs and for the creation of embryos solely for the sake of experimentation. As one commentator has observed, these embryos will be the “slaves of science.” Once again, we are witnessing a terrible abuse of science under the banner of progress, where any therapy that might come, comes at the expense of another.
5. CBC Launches Paul Ramsey Institute
This week, we here at the CBC launched the website for our Paul Ramsey Institute—a two year training program for early career professionals in bioethics. Are you a current graduate student, medical or law student working in bioethics and seeking to deepen your understanding of why these issues matter in helping build a truly human future? If so, consider applying to take part in our 2015 cohort!