Rob Sparrow: talks on eugenics TODAY in Edmonton

Just a quick reminder:

Professor Rob Sparrow will be giving two talks in Edmonton at the University of Alberta on Monday April 8 and Tuesday April 9, 2013. Both talks are open to the public and free! Talks are being held on campus in ETLC (Engineering Teaching & Learning Complex) Continue reading

“Baby M”, End of Life Policy, and the Stollery Children’s Hospital

Some of you may be aware of the matter of “Baby M”, involving a 2-year-old child who was admitted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, on May 25, 2012. She required a ventilator for life support. Despite the parents’ opposition to the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, which incorporated their religious beliefs, the Court of Queen’s Bench found that it was in the child’s best interests to terminate life support and, on September 14, 2012, ordered the withdrawal of the ventilator. The Court held that there is a general notion in society that a life dependent upon machines and without awareness is not in the best interests of any patient. On September 19, 2012, a three member panel of the Court of Appeal held that there was no error in principle in the Queen’s Bench decision and the appeal was dismissed. On September 20, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the parents’ application for a further stay. “Baby M’s” ventilator was removed, she suffocated, and died.

 
The parents are appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada to have Canada’s highest court decide important issues regarding termination of life-sustaining medical treatment. This decision of the lower courts and, if leave is granted, the ultimate decision of the Supreme Court of Canada will decide the process that will be used and who will make decisions to terminate life support.

These decisions of the Alberta Courts and how they will be followed in the future may ultimately affect individuals in your organization or your community. Should you believe that you, your organization, or community have a position on these life and death issues that should be heard and considered Continue reading

A Prequel to Gattaca?

The 1997 film Gattaca, written and directed by Andrew Niccol, portrays a futuristic society where babies are genetically engineered according to parental references.  The film features a society that consists almost exclusively of such artificially built individuals, with those who are born in the archaic, natural manner occupying the fringes of this society.  In order to protect the rights of what are referred to as the “valids” and thereby keep out the inferior “invalids,” each individual’s genetic material is constantly sampled and monitored.  Every person’s DNA is stored in a database, making multiple scans and random genetic sweeps in the workplace very efficient.  The story follows an “invalid” who has a dream of becoming an astronaut, a job open only to the genetically enhanced elite.

But my intention here is not to provide a synopsis of the film, which is very good and is certainly well worth the time it takes to watch.  Rather, I wanted to Continue reading

Ethicist gets hate mail

A Melbourne academic has triggered an ethical storm by suggesting it is acceptable to kill newborns in so-called after-birth abortions if parents do not want them.

Ethicist Francesca Minerva said yesterday that she had received hate mail since a provocative article she co-wrote with Dr Alberto Giubilini appeared online.

They argued after-birth abortion should be allowed in cases when abortion would be permitted, including if a child had a defect such as Down syndrome.

Even in cases where the baby was born perfectly healthy, parents should have the right to end the life of the child if their own wellbeing was at risk.

The researchers said a newborn baby and a foetus were “morally equivalent” and both were “potential people”.

“If criteria such as the social, psychological and economic costs for potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the foetus is healthy…then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is as the stage of a newborn, they said.

Adopting out an unwanted baby was not necessarily a solution because the mother might suffer psychological distress from giving up her child for adoption.

Dr Minerva said the article was not intended for public debate but rather for discussion among bioethicists.

“This debate has been going on for 30 years,” she said.

The BMJ Group said the researchers had been subjected to personal abuse, including threats to their lives.

It said the concept of infanticide was not new and the researchers had made an argument that deserved to be heard without receiving hostile abuse.
Catholic Respect Life executive officer Bronia Karniewicz said the argument that killing a healthy baby rather than putting them up for adoption because it might better benefit the parents was disturbing.

the article can be found here: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/13056055/ethicist-gets-hate-mail/

Australian paper says Euthanizing Babies should be allowed

A paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics argues that abortion should be extended to make the killing of newborn babies permissible, even if the baby is perfectly healthy, in a shocking example of how the medical establishment is still dominated by a vicious mindset.

The paper is authored by Alberto Giubilini of Monash University in Melbourne and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne.

The authors argue that “both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons,” and that because abortion is allowed even when there is no problem with the fetus’ health, “killing a newborn should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”

The complete article can be found here:http://www.eutimes.net/2012/03/australian-paper-says-euthanizing-babies-should-be-allowed-as-abortion/

Too dumb to be a mum?

Many stories like this (this one from the Mirror; h/t Velvet Martin) out there.  Does anyone know the legislative basis for these interventions in the UK?  One prong in many pieces of eugenics legislation was “incapable of parenting”–the other was “prospect of transmission of mental defectiveness”.  So this makes you wonder how far we are from that eugenic past.

On Mother’s Day.. the heart warming story of a girl who had to fight for the right to bring up her own child

Kerry McDougall with son Ben (pic: John Power)

Strolling along the beach, her young son in her arms, Kerry McDougall prepares for the perfect Mother’s Day – one that last year she could only dream of.

For 12 months ago tiny Ben was in care and Kerry’s life was in tatters – after social workers deemed her both too stupid to look after her son AND not even bright enough to wed her fiancé Mark.

Ben was just three days old when social workers marched into the maternity ward where Kerry was breastfeeding and took him away.

It was the start of a long, heartbreaking battle to become a proper family.

Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/life-style/real-life/2011/04/03/they-told-me-i-was-too-dumb-to-be-a-mum-but-i-proved-them-wrong-115875-23035451/#ixzz1It5O27Rg

Court Rules Blind Father Cannot Take Son to Disneyland

In this Global story from last September, the reporter describes a court decision to refuse to allow Karim Lakhani to bring his son to Disneyland.

With a love of travelling, Lakhani’s dream has been to take his son to Disneyland. In June, a family court judge agreed Lakhani could take his son on the trip. But there was a condition – one that Lakhani was unaware of.

At the time, two adult family friends, who live in California, were going to meet with Lakhani and his son at Disneyland. However, these friends have since changed their plans, prompting Lakhani’s ex-wife to go back to court. She says Lakhani cannot properly protect their son at the amusement park without his sight.

This is the first time his blindness has been an issue when caring for their son.

The judge ruled that Lakhani can only take his son to Disneyland if someone of sight accompanied him.

Continue reading