DFL member Dr de Vos takes a stand against abortion and then gets charged by HPCSA for misconduct.”

Please read the following articles about Dr de Vos:

SOWETAN LIVE

A hearing by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) against an anti-abortion doctor got off to a rocky start and had to be temporarily adjourned on Tuesday in Cape Town. Jacques de Vos, 32, is facing charges of unprofessional conduct and was prohibited from practising medicine due to his views on abortion. READ MORE

EYEWITNESS NEWS

A doctor, prohibited from practising medicine over his views on abortion, will face the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on Tuesday. Doctor Jacques de Vos reportedly believes abortion constitutes the killing of an unborn human being. De Vos was a medical intern at 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg when he made the utterance to a patient. He was then fired more than two years ago. READ MORE

IOL NEWS

An intern doctor and anti-abortionist appeared before a disciplinary hearing yesterday for allegedly dissuading a pregnant woman from terminating her pregnancy and likening it to the “killing of a human being”. READ MORE

ALGOA FM

A former military hospital doctor will appear before a disciplinary inquiry in Cape Town on Tuesday after being barred from practising as a doctor. Dr Jacques De Vos, who was a medical intern at 2 Military Hospital, was suspended two years ago after advising a patient that abortion is the killing of an unborn human being. READ MORE

DOCTOR CHARGED FOR ADVISING THAT UNBORN BABIES ARE HUMAN

Former Military Hospital doctor, Dr Jacques de Vos, has been charged by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for advising that abortion is the killing of an unborn human being. Dr De Vos, who is a member of Doctors For Life International (DFL) will finally be able to respond to charges after waiting more than two years since being barred from practicing as a doctor.

Dr De Vos was a medical intern at 2 Military Hospital when he was suspended from the gynaecology rotation and refused to be signed off. As a result, Dr De Vos has also been prevented from commencing his community service year, effectively barring him from practicing medicine in South Africa for the past two years. Despite numerous efforts by Dr De Vos and his legal team, Dr De Vos has not received any assistance from the SA Military Health Service or the HPCSA to continue with his career.

Adv Keith Matthee SC, instructed by De Wet Wepener Attorneys, will represent Dr De Vos when he appears before a six-member panel disciplinary enquiry scheduled for 27 and 28 August 2019 in Cape Town. This case is likely to attract great interest in the medical community as healthcare practitioners such as Dr De Vos are often victimized and discriminated against for upholding the sanctity of life for unborn children and for advising women of the adverse effects of abortion on the mother of the unborn child.

The hearings are open to the public. The venue is yet to be confirmed by the HPCSA.

For more information, contact Martus de Wet of De Wet Wepener Attorneys at 057 004 0004 or [email protected]

12 Myths about Assisted Suicide and Medical Aid In Dying

Introduction In an age of “alternative facts”, it’s hard to sort out myth from reality when it comes to so-called ‘medical-aid-in-dying’ (MAID)—also called physician assisted suicide (PAS). By whatever label we attach to it, this practice involves a physician’s prescribing a lethal drug for a patient with a putatively terminal illness who is requesting this “service.” Some form of MAID/PAS is now legal in 5 states and the District of Columbia. People of good conscience, including many physicians, are sharply divided on the ethics of MAID/PAS. Unfortunately, much of the support for this practice is founded on several myths and misconceptions regarding existing MAID laws and practices. Here are 12 of the most common.

1. Everyone has a “right to die”, including a right to take one’s own life, acting alone or with assistance.

In contrast to “liberties”, rights entail the cooperation or assistance of others.1 Mentally competent people may be at liberty to end their own lives (i.e., will not be prosecuted), but there is no recognized right to suicide that involves the cooperation of others. In Washington v. Glucksberg [521 U.S. 702 (1997)], the US Supreme Court (USSC) denied that there is a constitutionally-protected “right to commit suicide” or a right to PAS. To rule otherwise, the majority held, would force them to “reverse centuries of legal doctrine and practice, and strike down the considered policy choice of almost every state.” That said, the USSC has held that all competent persons have the right to refuse unwanted or “heroic” measures that merely prolong the dying process.2 Similarly, in Vacco v. Quill [521 U.S. 793(1997)], the USSC held that there is a legal difference between withdrawal of care and provision of a lethal intervention; i.e., everyone has a right to refuse medical care, but no one has a “right” to receive a lethal means of ending one’s life.

2. People who request “medical aid in dying” usually do so because they are experiencing severe, intractable pain and suffering.

Most requests for medical-aid-in-dying are not made by patients experiencing “untreatable pain or suffering”, as data from Oregon have shown; rather, the most common reasons for requesting medical aid in dying were loss of autonomy (97.2{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}), inability to engage in enjoyable activities (88.9{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}), and loss of dignity (75.0{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}).3 Many patients who request assisted suicide are clinically depressed and could be successfully treated, once properly diagnosed.

3. In states such as Oregon and Washington, where PAS is legal, there are adequate safeguards in place to ensure proper application of the PAS law.

In Oregon, reporting to the state is done solely by the physician prescribing the lethal drugs, who has a vested interest in minimizing problems. Moreover, if a physician was negligent in making the initial diagnosis or prognosis, there is no way to track this, since, by law, all death certificates will state that the person died of the putative underlying disease. At the same time, the physician is rarely present at the time the patient ingests the lethal drug, so the possibility of abuse—e.g., by coercive family members—cannot be adequately assessed. The Oregon department of human services has said it has no authority to investigate individual death-with-dignity cases,4 and Oregon has acknowledged that its law does not adequately protect all people with mental illness from receiving lethal prescriptions.5 Thus, it is nearly impossible to determine cases in which, for example, terminally ill patients were pressured to end their lives by family members. A study in the Michigan Law Review (2008) found that “seemingly reasonable safeguards for the care and protection of terminally ill patients written into the Oregon law are being circumvented…[and that]…the Oregon Public Health Division (OPHD), which is charged with monitoring the law…does not collect the information it would need to effectively monitor the law…OPHD…acts as the defender of the law rather than as the protector of the welfare of terminally ill patients.”6 Kenneth R. Stevens, Jr., MD, and William I. Toffler, MD, both of the Oregon Health & Science University, point to other actual or potential abuses in PAS-permissive states, including “physician shopping” to get around safeguards; nurse-assisted suicide without orders from a physician; and economic pressures to use PAS, such as Oregon Medicaid patients being denied cancer treatment but offered coverage for assisted suicide.7 Furthermore, an investigative piece by the Des Moines Register revealed that mandatory reporting requirements were not followed by hundreds of doctors in states where MAID/PAS is legal.8

4. In the US, only people with terminal or incurable illnesses are eligible for PAS.

Most PAS legislation applies to an adult with a terminal illness or condition predicted to have less than 6 months to live. In Oregon and Washington State, nearly identical criteria are interpreted to mean less than 6 months to live—specifically, without treatment. Thus, a healthy 20-year-old with insulin-dependent diabetes could be deemed “terminal” for the purpose of Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act.” So, too, patients refusing appropriate treatment may be deemed “terminal” under current interpretation of the Oregon law. Thus, a patient with anorexia nervosa who refused treatment could be eligible for PAS under Oregon law, even though she could recover with intensive therapy. As Swedish investigator Fabian Stahle observes, “This is in fact an alteration of the traditional meaning of the concept of ‘incurable.’”9

5. “Slippery slope” arguments against PAS are overblown. In European countries that allow PAS, there is no evidence that patients are being euthanized improperly.

People with non-terminal illnesses have been legally euthanized at their own request in several countries for nearly 15 years. This has included certain eligible patients who have only psychiatric disorders. In 2002, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg removed any distinctions between terminal and non-terminal conditions—and between physical suffering and mental suffering—for legally permitted PAS. Between 2008 and 2014, more than 200 psychiatric patients were euthanized by their own request in the Netherlands (1{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of all euthanasia in that country). Among them, 52{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} had a diagnosis of personality disorder, 56{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} refused 1 or more offered treatments, and 20{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} had never even had an inpatient stay (1 indication of previous treatment intensity). When asked the primary reason for seeking PAS/euthanasia, 66{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} cited “social isolation and loneliness.” Despite the legal requirement for agreement between outside consultants, for 24{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of psychiatric patients euthanized, at least 1 outside consultant disagreed.10-12 The US has not been immune to the slippery slope, either. For example, in Oregon, a psychiatrist opened a fee-for-service death clinic, where for $5,000, “terminally ill patients who are eligible to take advantage of…Oregon’s suicide law can book a death that might look a lot like a wedding package.”13

6. The method of “assisted dying” now used in Oregon and other PAS-states assures the patient of a quick, peaceful death, without serious complications.

A peaceful death is by no means guaranteed using current methods of PAS, as a recent piece by Lo pointed out: 14 “Physicians who support PAD need to consider how to address the potential for adverse outcomes, including longer time to death than expected (up to 24 hours or more), awakening from unconsciousness, nausea, vomiting, and gasping.” Data collected between 1998-2015 showed that the time between ingestion of lethal drugs and death ranged from 1 minute to more than 4 days. During this same period (1998-2015), 27 cases (out of 994) involved difficulty ingesting or regurgitating the drugs, and there were 6 known instances in which patients regained consciousness after ingesting the drugs. However, it is difficult to know the actual rate of drug-induced complications, since in the majority (54{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}) of cases between1998-2015, no health care professional was present to attend and observe the patient’s death.15

7. “Death with Dignity” all comes down to the patient’s autonomy, and the right of patients to end life on their terms.

In the first place, under current legislation permitting so-called medical aid in dying, the patient is completely dependent on the judgment, authorization, and prescriptive power of the physician—hardly a state of autonomy.1 Moreover, autonomy is only 1 of the 4 ‘cornerstones’ of medical ethics; the others are beneficence, non-malfeasance and justice. As Desai and Grossberg observe in their textbook on long-term care: “The pre-eminence of autonomy as an ethical principle in the United States can sometimes lead health care providers to disregard other moral considerations and common sense when making clinical decisions…we strongly feel that the role of the medical profession is to understand but not to support such wishes [for physician-assisted death]. Every person’s life is valuable, irrespective of one’s physical and mental state, even when that person has ceased to deem life valuable.”16

8. Doctors who conscientiously oppose PAS are perfectly free to refuse participation in it.

In theory, the California guidelines state that “A healthcare provider who refuses to participate in activities under the act on the basis of conscience, morality or ethics cannot be subject to censure, discipline … or other penalty by a healthcare provider, professional association or organization,” the guidelines say.17 However, prior to its PAS law being declared unconstitutional, physicians in California could be compelled to participate in PAS, under certain circumstances. California’s health department regulation requires a state facility to provide PAS. If the request is denied, the patient has a right to a judicial hearing on the matter. If the court determines the patient is qualified, the attending physician must write a prescription for lethal drugs.18 Moreover, there is evidence that physicians are sometimes pressured or intimidated by patients to assist in suicide.7

9. Terminally ill people who request MAID are not suicidal and don’t commit suicide. They are dying, and simply want “hastening” of an inevitable death. In contrast, genuinely suicidal people are not dying of a terminal condition, yet they want to die.

This argument plays fast and loose with language, logic, and law. In fact, it turns ordinary language on its head, thereby eliminating suicide by linguistic fiat. As the American Nursing Association states, “suicide is the act of taking one’s own life,”19 regardless of the act’s context. There may indeed be different psychological profiles that distinguish suicide in the context of terminal illness from suicide in other contexts, but that does not overturn the ordinary language meaning of suicide. Thus, when a terminally ill patient (or any other person) knowingly and intentionally ingests a lethal drug, that act is, incontrovertibly, suicide. Most suicides occur in the context of serious psychiatric illness. Yet patients who express suicidal ideation in the context of a condition such as major depression rarely want to die; rather, as numerous suicide prevention websites note, “Most suicidal people do not want to die. They are experiencing severe emotional pain, and are desperate for the pain to go away.” 20

10. People requesting PAS are carefully screened by mental health professionals to rule out depression.

Most PAS statutes modeled after the Oregon Death with Dignity statute do not require examination by a mental health professional, except when the participating physician is concerned and decides to do so. Specifically, “The patient is referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist if concern exists that the patient has a psychiatric disorder including depression that may impair judgment.”21 A study of the Oregon law concluded that “Although most terminally ill Oregonians who receive aid in dying do not have depressive disorders, the current practice of the Death with Dignity Act may fail to protect some patients whose choices are influenced by depression from receiving a prescription for a lethal drug.”21 In Oregon, 204 patients were prescribed lethal drugs in 2016 under the “Death with Dignity” statute, yet only 5 patients were referred for psychiatric or psychological evaluation.22

11. Doctors who participate in PAS are almost always comfortable doing so and rarely regret their decision.

Many doctors who have participated in euthanasia and/or PAS are adversely affected— emotionally and psychologically—by their experiences. In a structured, in-depth telephone interview survey of 38 US oncologists who reported participating in euthanasia or PAS, nearly a quarter of the physicians regretted their actions. Another 16{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} reported that the emotional burden of performing euthanasia or PAS adversely affected their medical practice.23 For example, one physician felt so “burned out” that he moved from the city in which he was practicing to a small town. Similarly, reactions among European doctors suggest that PAS and euthanasia often provoke strong negative feelings.24

12. For terminally ill patients, the only means of achieving “death with dignity” is by taking a lethal drug prescribed by one’s doctor.

Only a small minority of persons with a terminal disease seek a physician’s prescription for a lethal drug. It is not clear why self-poisoning confers more dignity to one’s death than more traditional and much more common ways of dying. Many people who are dying choose to “bear with” their pain. Some seek hospice care and—in cases of severe, intractable pain—merit palliative sedation.25 Some choose voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED), which, according to one study involving hospice nurses, results in a more satisfactory death than seen with PAS. In fact, “as compared with patients who died by physician-assisted suicide, those who stopped eating and drinking were rated by hospice nurses as suffering less and being more at peace in the last two weeks of life.”26 A form of VSED called ‘sallekhana’ has been practiced in the Jain religion for centuries and is regarded as an ethical and dignified means of achieving a “natural” death.27

Conclusion

The case for physician-assisted suicide legislation rests on a number of misconceptions, as regards the adequacy, safety, and application of existing PAS statutes. The best available evidence suggests that current practices under PAS statutes are not adequately monitored and do not adequately protect vulnerable populations, such as patients with clinical depression. The American College of Physicians,28 the American Medical Association, the World Medical Association and the American Nurses Association have all registered opposition to physician-assisted suicide. It is critical that physicians inform themselves as regards the actual nature and function—or dysfunction—of medical aid in dying legislation. The first step is to recognize and challenge the many myths that surround these well-intended but misguided laws.

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to recognize the important contributions of Dr. Mark Komrad and Mr. Alex Schadenberg to the discussion of physician-assisted suicide. Ronald W. Pies, MD is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Lecturer on Bioethics at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY; and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts U. School of Medicine, Boston. Annette Hanson, MD, is Director of the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program, and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

References

1. Szasz T: Fatal Freedom. Syracuse University Press, 1995. 2.  https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/does-the-constitution-protect-a-right-to-die 3. Loggers ET, Starks H, Shannon-Dudley M et al. Implementing a Death with Dignity program at a comprehensive cancer center. N Engl J Med. 2013 Apr 11;368(15):1417-24. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1213398 4. Oregon board investigates failed assisted suicide. Jun 20, 2005 http://www.drugtopics.com/community-pharmacy/oregon-board-investigates-failed-assisted-suicide 5. The Oregon Death With Dignity Act: A Guidebook for Healthcare Providers, page 43. Accessed at: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/continuing-education/center-for-ethics/ethics-outreach/upload/Oregon-Death-with-Dignity-Act-Guidebook.pdf 6. Hendin H, Foley K.  Physician-Assisted Suicide in Oregon: A Medical Perspective, Mich. L. Rev. 106; 1613 (2008). Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol106/iss8/7 7. Stevens KR, Toffler WI. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. JAMA, 2016;316(15): 1599 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2569774 8. Suicide with a helping hand worries Iowans on both sides of ‘right to die’. Desmoine Register, 2016 Nov 25 https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/investigations/2016/11/25/too-weak-kill-herself-assistance-legal/92407392/ 9. Stahle F. Oregon Health Authority Reveals Hidden Problems with the Oregon Assisted Suicide Model. https://www.masscitizensforlife.org/oregon-health-authority-reveals-hidden-problems-with-the-oregon-assisted-suicide-model 10. Kim SYH, De Vries RG, Peteet JR. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide of Patients With Psychiatric Disorders in the Netherlands 2011 to 2014. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(4):362-368 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5530592/ 11. Komrad MS. APA Position on Medical Euthanasia. Psychiatric Times. Feb. 25,c 2017.  http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/suicide/apa-position-medical-euthanasia 12. https://fatalflawsfilm.com 13. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/oregon-doctor-opens-death-clinic-physician-assisted-suicide/story?id=10994210 14. Lo B. Beyond Legalization — Dilemmas Physicians Confront Regarding Aid in Dying.”  N Engl J Med. 2018; 378(22):2060-2062 https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMp1802218?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}3dwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 15. https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PROVIDERPARTNERRESOURCES/EVALUATIONRESEARCH/DEATHWITHDIGNITYACT/Documents/year19.pdf 16. Desai AK, Grossberg GT.  Psychiatric Consultation in Long-Term Care, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010, p. 262. 17. McGreevy P. Guidelines issued for California’s assisted suicide law http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-guidelines-california-assisted-suicide-law-20160120-story.html 18. California Code of Regulations. § 4601. Petitions to the Superior Court and Access to the End of Life Option Act. http://www.dsh.ca.gov/Publications/docs/Regulations/2016_10_31_End_of_Life_ISOR.pdf 19. American Nurses Association. Position Statement. Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Aid in Dying. April 24, 2013 https://www.nursingworld.org/~4af287/globalassets/docs/ana/ethics/euthanasia-assisted-suicideaid-in-dying_ps042513.pdf 20.  https://medicine.umich.edu/sites/default/files/content/downloads/macomb-county-cmh-holding-on-to-life-toolkit.pdf 21. Ganzini L, Goy ER, Dobscha SK. Prevalence of depression and anxiety in patients requesting physicians’ aid in dying: cross sectional survey BMJ 2008; 337:a1682 https://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a1682 22. https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Documents/year19.pdf 23. Emanuel EJ, Daniels ER, Fairclough DL, Clarridge BR. The Practice of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide in the United States. Adherence to Proposed Safeguards and Effects on Physicians. JAMA. 1998;280(6):507–513. doi:10.1001/jama.280.6.507 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/187854 24. Stevens KR Jr. Emotional and psychological effects of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia on participating physicians. Issues Law Med. 2006 Spring; 21(3):187-200. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16676767 25. Statement on Palliative Sedation. Approved by the AAHPM Board of Directors on December 5, 2014 http://aahpm.org/positions/palliative-sedation 26. Ganzini L, Goy ER, Miller LL et al. Nurses’ experiences with hospice patients who refuse food and fluids to hasten death. N Engl J Med. 2003 Jul 24;349(4):359-65. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa035086 27. Tukol JTK. Sallekhana. https://www.jainworld.com/education/seniors/senles15.htm 28. Sulmasy LS, Mueller PS. Ethics and the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide: An American College of Physicians Position Paper. Ann Intern Med. 2017;167(8):576-578.  http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2654458/ethics-legalization-physician-assisted-suicide-american-college-physicians-position-paper
Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>

LIFEalerts: 11 May 2018

Abortion

USA – Debating the pro-abortion argumentsUSA – Abortion is equivalent to murder

Alternative Medicine

[No news today]

Euthanasia

Netherlands – Suicide machine from ‘Dr. Death’ draws outrageBelgium – Research reveals trends in medical practice of euthanasia Belgium – How many people is Flemish doctors really euthanizing?

IVF and Surrogacy

China – Post-one-child-policy causes posthumous conception desperation

Medical Ethics

UK – British toddler Alfie Evans dies in hospitalFrance – Macron encourages Church to speak out on bioethics

Pedophilia

USA – Jennifer Haley creates avatar girls to explore pedophilia

Pornography

India – New law propose death sentence for child rapeUSA – Parents enraged over school sex videos for children

Same Sex Attraction

Nigeria – Homosexual men fight over HIV infectionUSA – First Ever Ex-LGBT march and an uprising of truth USA – Harmful transgender book scientifically inaccurate

Sexual Exploitation

USA – Trump signs ‘FOSTA’ bill targeting online sex traffickingSouth Africa – Sex Trade’s Female Victims have ‘Damaged Lives’

Substance Abuse

UK – Substance abuse and addiction services decline with lack of fundingUSA – New data shows that fatal drug overdose has nearly tripled

Abortion

USA – Debating the pro-abortion arguments

In this 11-minute debate a few interesting points on abortion are raised. First is the argument where the government should not have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body when she is pregnant. However, when a murderer chooses to kill someone we can agree that the government has the right to stop them and the same should apply to the unborn baby. Secondly, the argument of pro-choice groups are strikingly similar to slavery arguments in that someone gets to define human life based on their emotional or financial state, which is a dangerous place to be. The pro-life argument is very simple and clear and the pro-choice groups try and make it complicated so that they can make it morally and emotionally more acceptable to abort the unborn child. When pro-choice people say they had to make a very difficult decision to abort their baby – it tells us that they know they are doing something wrong and that it has moral weight. https://youtu.be/ZcEJ2ArQCBE [back to top]

USA – Abortion is equivalent to murder

Iowa passed a bill that would prohibit abortion after the baby’s heartbeat is detected at 6 weeks of pregnancy. State Rep. Shannon Lundgren (R), while speaking on the House floor, called the bill “a courageous step” that sends the message that Iowa “will defend its most vulnerable, those without a voice – our unborn children.” The bill would require women seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound, at which time a physician would detect whether there is a heartbeat. The bill also would prohibit someone from acquiring, providing, receiving or using baby body parts in Iowa. A violator could be charged with a Class C felony. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/05/02/iowa-lawmakers-just-passed-one-of-the-most-restrictive-abortion-bills-in-the-u-s/ [back to top]

Alternative Medicine

[No news today]

Euthanasia

Netherlands – Suicide machine from ‘Dr. Death’ draws outrage

A 3D-printed suicide machine designed to aid euthanasia is planned to be made public for the first time at the Amsterdam Funeral Fair. Dubbed the Sacro, the device was created by Dr. Philip Nitschke, a euthanasia activist who’s also known as “Dr. Death”. It has been reported that event attendees could actually try the device using virtual reality technology. Plans to demonstrate the euthanasia machine has sparked outrage. According to critics, Nitschke’s creation is “gruesome” and it also glamorizes suicide. https://www.christiantoday.com/article/suicide-machine-from-dr-death-philip-nitschke-draws-outrage/128393.htm [back to top]

Belgium – Research reveals trends in medical practice of euthanasia

Only about 15{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of euthanasia cases in the semi-autonomous region of Flanders in Belgium are being reported, according to the latest research by physicians. It has long been known that euthanasia is underreported on official forms but that there are about 550{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} more cases of euthanasia than are currently in government statistics seems to have astonished even researchers. Research lists several reasons; physicians consciously or unintentionally not recognizing their cases of euthanasia as such, because they believe that they have not complied with the legal due care criteria (e.g. not reported euthanasia to the evaluation committee as is required by law), because they have privacy concerns for themselves as reporting attaches their name to the euthanasia case and the patient, and because they do not consider it necessary to report it on the death certificate. The lack of clear guidelines is probably also a reason for the low number of euthanasia cases indicated on death certificates. https://www.bioedge.org/ [back to top]

Belgium – How many people is Flemish doctors really euthanizing?

It has long been known that euthanasia is underreported on official forms but that there are about 550{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} more cases of euthanasia than are currently making their way into the government statistics, seems to have astonished even researchers. In a letter to the European Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from the End-of-Life Care Research Group at the Free University of Brussels admit that “death certificates substantially underestimate the frequency of euthanasia as a cause of death in Belgium and are therefore an unreliable tool for monitoring its practice. The authors of a BMJ article noted that “societal control over the euthanasia practice is an important prerequisite for effective euthanasia legislation”. If that is the goal, Belgium’s experiment with euthanasia has failed. https://www.mercatornet.com/careful/view/wow-how-many-people-are-flemish-doctors-really-euthanasing/21259 [back to top]

IVF and Surrogacy

China – Post-one-child-policy causes posthumous conception desperation

An underground market in surrogacy is booming in China after the government reversed the decades-old one-child policy. Nothing illustrates this better than a bizarre legal battle fought by two sets of grandparents over frozen embryos. In 2013 a young couple who had just had IVF treatment were killed in a car accident which appeared to end the bloodline of the two families. The heartbroken grandparents decided to engage a surrogate mother to carry the embryos but the IVF clinic refused to release them, as China has banned surrogacy. Rather than risking the consequences of a lawsuit with the hospital, the two couples sued each other to get the courts to back their case. The court handed down a favorable decision: “The only carrier of the two families’ blood lines carries the burden of their grieving memories and consolation.” A surrogate mother in Laos was impregnated with the embryos and gave birth to the child – a boy named Tiantian, or Sweet-Sweet. China is not the only country where posthumous conception is an issue. In Israel an informal legal instrument has been created, the “biological will” to cater for the spouses and grandparents of men who died before they were able to have children. The document asserts that “a person who has their semen or eggs frozen would like them to be posthumously used to create offspring”. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/in-post-one-child-policy-china-posthumous-conception-is-a-matter-of-despera/12654 [back to top]

Medical Ethics

UK – British toddler Alfie Evans dies in hospital

Terminally ill British toddler Alfie Evans has died just a little under one week after having life support withdrawn. The protracted legal dispute over the boy’s fate reached its climax with protesters attempting to storm Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in a bid to have the boy released. Evans was suffering from an unidentified neurodegenerative disease and specialists from Alder Hey Hospital said that “almost the entirety of Alfie’s brain has been eroded, leaving only water and cerebral spinal fluid”. Vox News journalist Tara Isabella Burton summarized the debate as a disagreement about whether parents or the state should decide what is in the best interests of a child: Ultimately, however, the Evans case is about who gets to decide what the best interest of a child really is. When the view of the state and the view of a child’s parents are at odds, who gets to have the final say? The answer ties into wider questions about medical ethics and what it means for a life to be “not worth living,” and about popular trust, or lack thereof, in the UK’s National Health Service, a paradigmatic example of both the pros and cons of socialized medicine. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/Alfie/12674 [back to top]

France – Macron encourages Church to speak out on bioethics

In a speech that garnered both criticism and praise, French President Emmanuel Macron told a gathering of Catholic bishops they should not be afraid to contribute to public debate, saying that Christians bring a valuable perspective on the human person to otherwise secular political discussions. Macron said that “Our contemporaries need, whether they believe or do not believe, to hear from another perspective on man than the material perspective…They need to quench another thirst, which is a thirst for absolute. Macron praised the Church for its consistent defense of the vulnerable in society, ranging from the unborn and the elderly to migrants and the poor. “You consider that our duty is to protect life, especially when this life is defenseless. The speech appears to be an invitation for the Church to express its opposition to impending bioethics legislation due to be introduced in the French parliament by the end of the year. The legislation will seek to make single women and lesbian couples eligible for assisted reproduction, which currently is only available to infertile heterosexual couples in France. It would also reconsider legalizing euthanasia, which is now banned. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/macron-encourages-french-bishops-to-speak-out-on-bioethics/12650 [back to top]

Pedophilia

USA – Jennifer Haley creates avatar girls to explore pedophilia

Is virtual reality real? Is it so real that some of our interactions in computer-simulated, 3-D environments should be banned? Jennifer Haley has produced a provocative play unlike most of the popular war and fantasy games on the market; this game takes you into one of the darker corners of cyberspace. This is about men who are free to indulge their sexual desires with pre-pubescent girls. What is most unsettling are the issues the playwright raises about the lure and morality of the boundaries between imagining and acting. Ms Haley wanted to probe the potential ethical issues arising from our fascination with computerized illusions. Recently criminal justice officials in Germany, Australia and other countries have debated whether visitors of “underground” virtual sites that involve pedophilia should be prosecuted for child pornography crimes. Some have suggested that virtual reality avatars of young girls be used to help identify, diagnose and possibly punish the adult clients. http://news.abs-cbn.com/life/03/18/17/theater-review-disturbing-nether-takes-us-to-the-dark-internet [back to top]

Pornography

India – New law propose death sentence for child rape

Amid growing anger over rising incidents of child rape cases India has started the process to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), 2012, to ensure maximum punishment of the death penalty in child rape cases where the victim is under 12 years of age. The Act was framed to protect children from offences of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography. The move comes amid rising tensions over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Jammu and the alleged rape of a minor in Unnao. There is a rising national consensus for punishments that set an example in both the cases. https://www.firstpost.com/india/centre-tells-supreme-court-process-is-underway-to-ensure-death-penalty-for-child-rape-under-pocso-act-4439429.html [back to top]

USA – Parents enraged over school sex videos for children

On behalf of parents enraged that their 14-year-old girls at a Virginia high school were exposed to pornographic videos and curriculum, a Christian legal group is demanding that the Planned Parenthood affiliated agency presenting the obscene material be prohibited from continuing its so-called “education” classes. Parents were particularly upset over the fact that they were not asked or even forewarned about the sexually explicit content being presented to their early teens. “The ‘Sex Positivity’ curriculum was presented without the consent or knowledge of parents. Nowhere in the curriculum are the words ‘abstinence’, ‘legal,’ ‘moral,’ ‘faith,’ or ‘parents. However, the word ‘sex’ or derivatives appears more than 49 times in the document, including the sentence ‘I’d like to have sex tonight, would you?’ https://www.onenewsnow.com/education/2018/04/28/parents-enraged-over-schools-sex-vids-for-14-y-os [back to top]

Same Sex Attraction

Nigeria – Homosexual men fight over HIV infection

In Lagos State, Nigeria, a man infected with HIV by his boyfriend protested against his boyfriend wanting to sleep with another man and infect him too. The argument quickly broke out into a fight that had neighbours calling the police for help. Inter-partner violence is a common occurrence in the homosexual community. In the Journal of Human Sexuality (volume 1) of 2009 on page 87, studies reviewed and derived from hundreds of sources by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH), reveal that despite homosexuals knowing the risks, they repeatedly and pathologically continue to indulge in unsafe sex practices. Homosexuals have the highest number of STI cases and many homosexual sex practices are medically dangerous, with or without protection. Homosexual relationships in comparison to heterosexual relationships are far more violent and frequent and more than one third of homosexual men and women are substance abusers. 1) https://www.360nobs.com/2018/04/homosexuals-fight-dirty-after-contracting-hiv-in-lagos/#comment-1059537 2) http://www.factsaboutyouth.com/wp-content/uploads/What-research-shows-homosexuality.NARTH_.pdf [back to top]

USA – First Ever Ex-LGBT march and an uprising of truth

In Washington the first ever Ex-LGBT Freedom March will be hosted by an Organisation called Voice of the Voiceless which supports and advocates for individuals that have left the homosexual lifestyle. Attendees from around the country will attend and share their journey of life before and after homosexuality. The movement of so many individuals debunks the claims from LGBT advocates and medical organisations (that have abandoned science and research integrity) which have said homosexuality is “unchangeable”. https://www.christianpost.com/news/men-women-who-left-homosexuality-transgenderism-rally-freedom-march-223443/ [back to top]

USA – Harmful transgender book scientifically inaccurate

Michael K. Laidlaw, MD is a board-certified physician in Rocklin, California specializing in endocrinology who reviewed the book for children called “I am Jazz” by Jazz Jennings about an adolescent being “diagnosed” as transgender. Dr. Laidlaw expresses concerns from a medical point of view that this book makes false claims that are scientifically incorrect and fails to mention the “multitude of health risks, potential infertility and sexual dysfunction associated with the hormonal and surgical treatment of gender dysphoria. “I could not in good conscience recommend these treatments to any child or adolescent.” Harm has already occurred at Rocklin Academy in a kindergarten class where the book was read as a number in the class were emotionally harmed. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2018/04/21220/ [back to top]

Sexual Exploitation

USA – Trump signs ‘FOSTA’ bill targeting online sex trafficking

President Trump signed a bill that gives federal and state prosecutors power to pursue websites that host sex-trafficking ads and enables victims and state attorney general’s to file lawsuits against those sites. The signing comes just days after seven executives for Backpage.com were arrested on a 93-count indictment that alleges the website facilitated prostitution and laundered tens of millions of dollars in profits and that teenage girls were sold for sex on the site. Some of those girls were killed. The government also shut down Backpage’s classified ad websites around the world and moved to seize houses and bank accounts around the United States. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2018/04/11/trump-signs-fosta-bill-targeting-online-sex-trafficking-enables-states-and-victims-to-pursue-websites/?utm_term=.7bac6412e2b8&noredirect=on [back to top]

South Africa – Sex Trade’s Female Victims have ‘Damaged Lives’

A quarter of a million people live in modern slavery in South Africa. Every eight hours a woman is killed by a male partner and one woman in five has suffered rape or sexual assault at least once. Among prostituted women estimates of HIV rates range between 39 percent and 71 percent. Men from both the U.S. and the U.K. regularly travel as sex tourists and pay to have sex with the most vulnerable and marginalized women and girls. The presence of international aid agencies, charities and nongovernmental organizations working toward developing better civil society infrastructures appear to do relatively little to tackle the problem of sex trafficking. Until paying for sex under any circumstance is stigmatized and criminalized and women and girls are helped to escape the sex trade, trafficking will continue to flourish and abusers will act with impunity Julie Bindel is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and researcher and has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children. https://www.truthdig.com/articles/sex-trades-female-victims-spoiled-goods-damaged-lives/ [back to top]

Substance Abuse

UK – Substance abuse and addiction services decline with lack of funding

Dependency services are at a crisis point as a result of a lack of funding from government, a new survey has warned. In a report from Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern, the survey, which received 154 completed responses from medical professionals and service users, found that only 12{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the medical facilities and doctors surveyed felt that substance abuse services in their area were sufficient and cuts of up to 58{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} were reported. ”Public Health England estimates that around 595,000 people in England alone are in need of specialist treatment. In 2016-17, only 80,454 people received treatment for dependencies, with 80{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of substance and alcohol dependent people currently not in rehabilitation services. Government needs to recognise the vital role that treatment plays in addressing the tragic consequences dependency can have on individuals.” http://www.publicsectorexecutive.com/Robot-News/substance-abuse-and-addiction-services-decline-with-lack-of-funding- [back to top]

USA – New data shows that fatal drug overdose has nearly tripled

Fatal drug overdoses nearly tripled between 2014 and 2017 according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Opioid related fatal overdoses accounted for nearly 61 percent of overdoses in 2016 and for 63 percent of the fatal overdoses in 2017. Deaths from heroin and synthetic opioids increased sharply across many states. Between 2014 and 2017 fatal overdoses involving synthetic opioids increased by 71{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}.This epidemic is a problem that doesn’t discriminate. Rates of opioid deaths increased overall between both sexes aged 25 to 44 and all ethnic groups. The CDC data was analyzed by the Office on National Drug Control Policy and revealed that opioid related fatalities outnumbered gun-related deaths by nearly 3 to 1. https://www.drugaddictionnow.com/2016/12/16/fatal-drug-overdoses-nearly-tripled-new-cdc-data-shows/2/ [back to top] Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>

LIFEalerts: 20 April 2018

Hawaii legalises assisted suicide

Abortion

Ireland – Poll shows support for abortion is declining Argentina – Hundreds of thousands march to protest legalized abortion

Alternative Medicine

[No news today]

Euthanasia

USA – Battle for medical conscience rights of doctors’ USA – Not a single patient has used new controversial assisted suicide law USA – Hawaii legalizes assisted suicide

IVF and Surrogacy

USA – Woman discovers her father was her mother’s fertility doctor

Medical Ethics

USA – Time for Gene Editing global ‘observatory’ UK/USA – When should we provide life sustaining care for premature babies? UK – Nuffield Council issues note on whole genome sequencing of babies

Pedophilia

China – Call Me by Your Name’ Pulled From Beijing Film Festival Australia – Deported reoffending pedophile sparks law review

Pornography

[No news today]

Same Sex Attraction

Indonesia – Government blocks 80,000 websites USA – Military transgender ban

Sexual Exploitation

Thailand – Tourism body says it opposes ‘sex tourism’

Substance Abuse

USA – Quantifying population-level health harms of e-cigarette use Canada – Energy drinks cause many sudden cardiac deaths in young people USA – Binge drinking rates among students are worrying

Abortion

Ireland – Poll shows support for abortion is declining

The Irish Mirror reports on a poll that found a major drop in support for the pro-abortion campaign. Ireland has been under great pressure to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects unborn babies’ right to life. Pro-Life Irish families have been knocking on doors across Ireland to urge voters to consider the life of the unborn and to make known the consequences of abortion. Despite biased media and illegal donations, the efforts of Pro-life groups are changing minds. http://www.lifenews.com/2018/03/26/poll-shows-irish-campaign-to-legalize-abortion-losing-ground/#.Wrn_s_MH3ms.twitter [back to top]

Argentina – Hundreds of thousands march to protest legalized abortion

Thousands of Argentineans’ filled the streets in 200 cities across the country to March for life against a bill that would permit the killing of babies up to nine months! The march was promoted and included free ultrasounds for pregnant women and collections of donations for charities that help mothers in distress. 50,000 people marched in the capital of Buenos Aires and other cities reported seeing crowds of up to 20,000 participants in the “Great Rally for Life” under the theme “Save them both”. The bill is currently being debated in Argentina’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/hundreds-of-thousands-march-to-protest-legalized-abortion-in-argentina [back to top]

Alternative Medicine

[No news today]

Euthanasia

USA – Battle for medical conscience rights of doctors’

Medical conscience is the new battlefront in right to life issues. The Trump administration announced rules that place emphasis on enforcing federal laws protecting medical conscience. Supporters of “medical conscience” argue that forcing doctors to participate in interventions they find morally abhorrent is involuntary medical servitude. Pro-euthanasia lobbies are strategically dismantling laws which protect medical practice in the United States and Canada. Some bioethicists are lobbying to enact laws that would give dementia patients the right to sign an advance directive requiring nursing homes to starve them to death once they reach a specified level of cognitive decline and increasing calls to do away with the dead-donor rule in transplant medicine so that patients can be organ-harvested while still alive. Assisted-suicide advocates are pushing an “aggressive advance directive” that would force nursing homes to starve dementia patients, even if they willingly eat, when they reach a specified stage of cognitive decline. http://www.lifenews.com/2018/04/02/euthanasia-activists-wants-nursing-homes-to-starve-dementia-patients-to-death/ [back to top]

USA – Not a single patient has used new controversial assisted suicide law

Nearly a year after the District of Columbia enacted a law (2016) allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives, disregarding the objections of congressional Republicans, religious groups and advocates for those with disabilities, not a single patient has used it. Just two of the approximately 11,000 physicians licensed to practice in the District have registered to help patients exercise their rights under the law and only one hospital has cleared doctors to participate. Mary Klein, a D.C. resident in the final stages of cancer who became the public face of the pro-euthanasia movement, says she hasn’t been able to find a willing doctor. The physician community was not out there advocating for it, according to Pia Duryea, spokeswoman for the Medical Society of the District of Columbia. No local practicing physician testified in favor of the measure and several opposed it, during debate before the D.C. Council. The bill allows patients with less than six months to live to receive a fatal dose of drugs after making two requests at least 15 days apart. Two witnesses must attest that the requesting patient was of sound mind, and patients must take the medication without assistance. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/a-year-after-dc-passed-its-assisted-suicide-law-only-two-doctors-have-signed-up/2018/04/10/823cf7e2-39ca-11e8-9c0a-85d477d9a226_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.139d0aafa5ac [back to top]

USA – Hawaii legalizes assisted suicide

Hawaii has become the seventh American jurisdiction where assisted-suicide is legal, by a vote of 23-2. Governor David Inge signed the bill. “It is time for terminally ill, mentally competent Hawaii residents who are suffering to make their own end-of-life choices with dignity, grace and peace,” he said. The legislatures of Hawaii, Oregon, Washington State, California, Colorado, Vermont, Montana and the District of Columbia are all permitting assisted suicide now. In the same time ten states have passed laws explicitly banning assisted suicide. The latest was Utah, where the criminal code was clarified to include assisted suicide. It was prompted by a gruesome case in which 18-year-old Tyerell Przybycien helped 16-year-old Jchandra Brown to hang herself and filmed her last moments. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/hawaii-legalises-assisted-suicide/12646?utm_source=BioEdge&utm_campaign=5017a47ef9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_04_08&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_76ab23e62c-5017a47ef9-124733715 [back to top]

IVF and Surrogacy

USA – Woman discovers her father was her mother’s fertility doctor

Genetic testing company Ancestry.com has become a leading source for people to track their heritage. However, the company warns “We are committed to delivering the most accurate results, however with this, people may learn of unexpected connections”, as with Kelli Rowlette, a 36-year-old American woman who used the company’s services to complete her family tree. Unexpectedly, the man whom the test showed to be her father was unknown to her. She thought it was an error and complained to her now-divorced parents who knew immediately what the problem was. They had fertility problems and sought help from a fertility clinic. Because of the husband’s low sperm count, the doctor, Gerald Mortimer, offered to use 85{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the husband’s sperm and 15{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} donor sperm. The couple specified that the donor should be a college man taller than six feet with brown hair and blue eyes. Instead, Dr Mortimer used his own sperm. He remained the doctor of Ms Rowlett’s mother and delivered her in 1981, without ever divulging the secret. She and her parents are suing Mortimer and Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates for US$10 million, accusing them of medical negligence, fraud, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/us-woman-discovers-that-her-father-was-her-mothers-fertility-doctor/12644 [back to top]

Medical Ethics

USA – Time for Gene Editing global ‘observatory’

Through CRISPR gene editing scientist can literally change the nature of any cell and genetically alter every life form. Yet we are not having a meaningful discussion about whether and how to regulate what I believe to be the most powerful technology ever invented says Bioethicist Wesley Smith. In the journal Nature, authors Sheila Jasanoff, professor of science and technology at Harvard Kennedy School, and J. Benjamin Hurlbut associate professor of biology and society at Arizona State University, argue it is time for a “global observatory,” which is essentially an international heart-to-heart discussion. In current bioethical debates there is a tendency to fall back on the framings of those who are at the frontiers of research. But free enquiry, the lifeblood of science, does not mean untrammeled freedom to do anything. As the dark histories of eugenics and abusive research on human subjects remind us, it is at our peril that we leave the human future to be adjudicated in biotechnology’s own “ecclesiastical courts”. It is time to invite in voices and concerns that are currently inaudible to those in centers of biological innovation and to draw on the full richness of humanity’s moral imagination. An international, interdisciplinary observatory would be an important step in this direction. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-03270-w [back to top]

UK/USA – When should we provide life sustaining care for premature babies?

A new article in Bioethics criticizes policies in neonatal care units that mandate the withholding of treatment from babies born before 25 weeks gestation. Neonatologist Manya Hendriks (University Hospital Zurich) and pediatrician John Lantos (Children’s Mercy Hospital) argue that many extremely premature babies born between 22 weeks and 25 gestation can survive and develop healthily if given adequate treatment. Yet many neonatal intensive care units in Europe and North America routinely withhold treatment based on the fact that they were born before 25 weeks gestation. In evaluating current neonatal care policies the authors write that neonates are sometimes seen as “conditional persons” with less of a claim on our health care resources than fully-developed adult human beings. The authors assert that newborns, even those born prematurely, are full-fledged members of the human community and have the same right to treatment as other humans. This entails giving extreme preterm babies the best possible chance to life. Policies and practices that limit treatment based on gestational age alone violate this basic principle of justice. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/when-should-we-provide-life-sustaining-care-for-premature-babies/12643 [back to top]

UK – Nuffield Council issues note on whole genome sequencing of babies

Whole genome sequencing is starting to be used in the UK’s National Health Service in the care of seriously ill babies, and will also become available through commercial companies. This raises important questions about what kind of genetic information should be shared with parents, how parents can be supported to make informed choices, and how genomic information should be stored and accessed by others, such as researchers. Within the medical genetics community, using whole genome sequencing to look opportunistically for a broad range of conditions and traits in babies who are not ill is widely thought to be unacceptable. Researchers generally agree that direct-to-consumer genetic tests for children should normally be deferred until they are adults. There are also broader questions about whether increased uptake of whole genome sequencing will change views about genetic variation and disability in society. Professor Dave Archard, Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics says: “Genome sequencing technology has moved at an incredible pace, and we are starting to see the benefits that it can offer to patients with genetic disease. But we need to think carefully about how we handle the sensitive information that can be revealed. Babies do not get a say in this, making it especially important that they, and others, are not disadvantaged in their future lives by a decision taken at birth. We need to make sure there are opportunities for public consideration of the challenges.” https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/nuffield-council-issues-brief-note-on-whole-genome-sequencing-of-babies/12638 [back to top]

Pedophilia

China – Call Me by Your Name’ Pulled From Beijing Film Festival

Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name,” which just won an Oscar for adapted screenplay, has been pulled from the Beijing Film Festival. The festival’s removal of the gay-themed coming-of-age film, first reported by Reuters, comes as Chinese authorities tighten their control over media content of this nature. Earlier this month, China’s rubber-stamp parliament voted to allow the Communist Party’s propaganda department to have control over the film, news and publishing. “Call Me by Your Name,” is handled by Sony Pictures Entertainment. It follows the romance between a teenager and a much older graduate student over a summer in the Italian countryside. This is in and of itself a victory against the normalizing of pedophilic tendencies in a main stream cinema. http://variety.com/2018/film/news/call-me-by-your-name-pulled-from-beijing-film-festival-1202736106/ [back to top]

Australia – Deported reoffending pedophile sparks law review

A pedophile, who sexually abused two boys in Australia after being deported from Canada for raping his stepson, has prompted the attorney general of Australia to look at required law changes. Attorney General John Quigley conceded it was “a huge problem” that pedophiles could relocate and continue abusing children without the strictest possible monitoring. The dangerous sex offender’s act only allows for people who are in prison to be declared a dangerous sex offender, not people who have been deported back to Australia after serving a prison term overseas. Mr. Quigley said he now realizes the oversight and would look at what laws need to be changed. Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was “every parent’s worst nightmare” and he expected people deported to Australia to be checked in future. https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/04/11/15/34/wa-pedophile-reoffending-sparks-law-review [back to top]

Pornography

[No news today]

Same Sex Attraction

Indonesia – Government blocks 80,000 websites

Indonesia has taken major steps to crack down on human trafficking and pornography. The Ministry of Communications and Informatics have shut down and blocked many LGBT dating apps because they discovered that under-aged boys were being sold for sex. The Ministry also blocks other websites that host pornographic material and fake news sites. Homosexuality is not illegal in the country but legislation is moving to restrict the communities’ rights and activities and also to ban propaganda. http://asiamedia.lmu.edu/2018/03/26/indonesia-government-blockage-to-end-all-lgbt-and-pornography-on-internet-tumbles-into-irrationality-and-overkill/ [back to top]

USA – Military transgender ban

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis reported on the study and findings of the Defense Department which found transgender persons to be a risk to military effectiveness and could undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion and impose an unreasonable burden on the military. The new policy issued by President Trump will enable the military to apply a well-established mental and physical health standard and would disqualify transgender persons from serving in the military except if they are already in ranks or if they show for a period of 36 months that they no longer suffer from the psychological condition. Those that do not seek to transition with surgery can serve but as the sex they were assigned at birth. https://www.lc.org/newsroom/details/032618-military-transgender-ban [back to top]

Sexual Exploitation

Thailand – Tourism body says it opposes ‘sex tourism’

Thailand’s tourism body has said in a statement that it “strongly opposes any form of sex tourism” as it hopes to welcome a record number of vacationers this year. “The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) ensures that it’s marketing strategy and policy to move Thailand forward as the ‘Quality Destination’ has stepped in the right direction … and strongly opposes any form of sex tourism,” the TAT said in a statement. Signs offering “soapy massages”, bubble baths given to brothel clients that usually end with sex and go-go bars have helped to bolster Thailand’s reputation as a sex destination. There are around 123,530 prostitutes in Thailand according to a 2014 UNAIDS report. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/01/asia-pacific/thailands-tourism-body-says-opposes-sex-tourism/#.WsZgL-NuLct [back to top]

Substance Abuse

USA – Quantifying population-level health harms of e-cigarette use

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) may help cigarette smokers quit smoking but more than likely will facilitate cigarette smoking for never-smokers. Using the Monte Carlo stochastic simulation model parameters were drawn from census counts, national health and published literature. The model estimated that 168,000 additional never-cigarette smoking adolescents aged 12–17 and young adults aged 18–29, would initiate cigarette smoking in 2018 and eventually become daily cigarette smokers at age 35–39 through the use of e-cigarettes from 2017. Overall, the model estimated that e-cigarette use in 2017 would lead to 1,510,000 years of life lost. Based on the existing scientific evidence related to e-cigarettes, use currently represents more population level harm. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0193328 [back to top]

Canada – Energy drinks cause many sudden cardiac deaths in young people

High amounts of caffeine can aggravate underlying heart issues, causing fatal arrhythmias in many adolescents and young adults. A new study by an international research team, led by Dr. Fabian Sanchis-Gomar of Madrid, Spain, has concluded that energy drinks are the cause of many sudden cardiac deaths in young, healthy individuals. The problem is that there are many additional sources of caffeine that are “masked” by the labeling. Ingredients such as guarana, ginseng and taurine have very high caffeine concentrations that are higher than found in coffee. Roughly 31{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of adolescents from ages 12 to 19 consume energy drinks on a regular basis. Of 5,448 caffeine overdoses in 2017, 46{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of them occurred in people under the age of 19. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/energy-drinks-the-cause-of-many-sudden-cardiac-deaths-in-young-people-researchers-find-040315.html [back to top]

USA – Binge drinking rates among students are worrying

Researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) say that binge drinking is becoming more prevalent among young people. Study author Ralph Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H., says the problem may stem from young adults who aren’t in college; there aren’t the same organizational supports to implement interventions he said. The group found that binge drinking and related problems increased among people aged 18-24, 45{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of students reported drinking more than 5 drinks at an occasion at least once in the last 30 days and 28{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol. There is an urgent need to stop extreme binge drinking which has become a serious public health concern. The full study has been published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/binge-drinking-is-trending-down-among-college-students-study-finds-073117.html [back to top] Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>

LIFEalerts: 06 April 2018

Abortion

USA – You won’t support abortion if you see what it looks like USA – Legal abortion is not safe for the mother or the baby

Alternative Medicine

Spain – Woman dies after ‘bee sting’ alternative therapy France – Doctors condemn ‘alternative medicines’ India – Medical Association Opposes National Medical Commission Bill

Euthanasia

USA – Bioethicists in favor of pediatric euthanasia

IVF and Surrogacy

[No news today]

Medical Ethics

India – Landmark ruling on advanced directives and withdrawal of treatment USA – Artificial Intelligence Is Infiltrating Medicine — But Is It Ethical?

Pedophilia

[No news today]

Pornography

USA – Shocking illegal content found in the Bitcoin Blockchain UK – Tough new laws will block X-rated videos online USA – Porn’s ‘devastating effects on children, family and society’

Same Sex Attraction

UK – The problem with having 63 different genders UK – Have we gone too far?

Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – MP caucus takes submissions on prostitution USA – ‘A Victory for Survivors’: Congress Passes Anti-Sex Tracking Bill

Substance Abuse

UK – One in 10 Sober People Have Cocaine or Heroin on Their Fingertips

Abortion

USA – You won’t support abortion if you see what it looks like

A pro-life group called Live Action posted a three and a half minute video of a social experiment on abortion supporters. In the video they asked abortion supporters to watch a clip on the medical procedure which resulted in all of them changing their minds. Watching the abortion procedure video by former abortionist, Anthony Levatino, was enough to change their stance on abortion for good. This also tells us that many abortion supporters do not fully understand the implications of abortion on the mother or what is happening to the child in the womb. Abortion companies confuse the public by using deceptive language like ‘clump of tissue’ or ‘product of conception’ in order to distort and deny the baby’s personhood. https://youtu.be/0xWQHhqOAcg [back to top]

USA – Legal abortion is not safe for the mother or the baby

Tyler Sheppard lost his sister Cree, a 24-year-old mother to a botched abortion done by Planned Parenthood (PP). Before Cree died after she went to the emergency room where an ultrasound was done that showed a clot and baby parts of an incomplete abortion. Cree was only discharged and told to follow-up with her doctor at PP. A short video posted by pro-life group called Live Action names and lists the many women who have died as a result of having an abortion. Abortion is a gamble with more than one life, making it legal does not make it safer. https://youtu.be/x4m2tpNCxpE [back to top]

Alternative Medicine

Spain – Woman dies after ‘bee sting’ alternative therapy

A 55-year-old was undergoing a session of apitherapy, an acupuncture treatment which uses the sting of live bees instead of needles to treat stiff muscles and stress, when she died from an anaphylactic shock. “To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of death by bee venom apitherapy due to complications of severe anaphylaxis in a confirmed sensitized patient who was previously tolerant,” wrote the report’s co-authors, Paula Vazquez-Revuelta and Ricardo Madrigal-Burgaleta of the Ramon Cajal University Hospital in Spain. https://www.thelocal.es/20180322/woman-dies-in-spain-after-bee-string-alternative-therapy [back to top]

France – Doctors condemn ‘alternative medicines’

A total 124 doctors signed an open letter criticizing alternative medicines such as homeopathy as having ‘no scientific basis’. The letter published in Le Figaro with 124 signatories says such ‘esoteric disciplines’ are ‘fed by charlatans’ and ‘have no scientific basis’ but are ‘based on beliefs promising miraculous healing’. “We wish to dissociate ourselves completely from practices that are neither scientific nor ethical, but rather irrational and dangerous,” the letter reads. They said that alternative medicines promote a ‘mistrust’ of conventional treatment and can ‘delay diagnosis’. The writers demand that the Conseil de l’ordre des médecins et[des] pouvoirs publics stops recognizing alternative treatments as medical, stops teaching them in medical training and call for a halt to covering the costs of such treatments. https://www.connexionfrance.com/index.php/French-news/Doctors-condemn-alternative-medicines [back to top]

India – Medical Association Opposes National Medical Commission Bill

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest body of private doctors in India has opposed a National Medical Commission bill (NMC) which proposes to allow doctors of alternative medicines to practice modern medicine after completing a “bridge course”. Protesting against the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, the IMA has called for an indefinite strike. The NMC bill allows practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homeopathy and ayurveda to practice modern medicine. The Bill also proposes that the National Licentiate Examination (NLE) should be made compulsory for any doctor, including a foreign graduate, to make them eligible to practice medicine in India. The parliamentary panel has suggested integrating the NLE with the final year MBBS exam. http://ehealth.eletsonline.com/2018/03/ima-opposes-national-medical-commission-bill/ [back to top]

Euthanasia

USA – Bioethicists in favor of pediatric euthanasia

The Pediatrics medical journal asked Dutch and American bioethicists whether they would support repealing all age limits for euthanasia in the Netherlands as Belgium has. Euthanasia in the Netherlands is legal, starting at age 12. Indeed, the infanticide-allowing Groningen Protocol isn’t technically legal but is virtually never punished and specifically does not require that the baby killed be otherwise dying. Under the Groningen Protocol, serious disabilities justify infanticide. In the Netherlands research has shown that medical practice has changed dramatically since the legalization of Euthanasia. Since 2017 euthanasia deaths have increased to 8{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}from 2016 with 6091 reported deaths, a 10{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} increase. Use of potentially life-shortening medication and continuous deep sedation to relieve end-of-life suffering is common practice in the Netherlands. The frequency of physician assistance in dying is similar to the rate that was recently reported in Belgium, one of the few countries in which physician assistance in dying are also allowed. About half of all requests for physician assistance in dying were granted in 2015. It’s a very big deal that a respected Dutch medical journal such as Pediatrics hosted a debate on the ethical propriety of child euthanasia without international criticism. This means that among the medical intelligentsia, child euthanasia has become a respectable proposition. http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.co.za/ [back to top]

IVF and Surrogacy

[No news today]

Medical Ethics

India – Landmark ruling on advanced directives and withdrawal of treatment

India’s Supreme Court has handed down a landmark ruling authorizing the use of “living wills” and streamlining the process for the withdrawal of treatment from dying patients. The ruling allows adults to write an advance directive indicating that they do not wish to receive life support if in a comatose or permanent vegetative state. The five-judge panel also outlined a process by which doctors and family members could apply through the courts to have life support withdrawn from a terminally ill and incapacitated patient. The ruling comes three years after the death of Aruna Shanbaug, an Indian nurse who had been in hospital in a persistent vegetative state for over four decades, after being raped and strangled in 1973. Shanbaug was at the centre of a nationwide debate over the ethics and legality of the withdrawal of treatment. “This is an important, historic decision, which clears the air,” said Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan. “Everybody will breathe a sigh of relief, because people were earlier apprehensive that if they withdrew life support, they could be prosecuted for culpable homicide,” he added. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/landmark-indian-court-decision-on-acds-and-withdrawal-of-treatment/12626 [back to top]

USA – Artificial Intelligence Is Infiltrating Medicine — But Is It Ethical?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being embraced by hospitals and other healthcare organizations that use the technology to do everything from interpreting CT scans to predicting which patients are most likely to suffer debilitating falls while being treated. Electronic medical records are scoured and run through algorithms designed to help doctors pick the best cancer treatments based on the mutations in patients’ tumors, or predict their likelihood to respond well to a treatment regimen based on past experiences of similar patients. But a group of Stanford University physicians contend that AI raises ethical challenges that healthcare leaders must anticipate and deal with before they embrace this technology. “Remaining ignorant about the construction of machine-learning systems or allowing them to be constructed as black boxes could lead to ethically problematic outcomes,” they wrote in an editorial published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. One reason that AI concerns the physicians is that biases could inadvertently be introduced into algorithms. “What if the algorithm is designed around the goal of saving money?” asks senior author David Magnus, director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, in a statement. “What if different treatment decisions about patients are made depending on insurance status or their ability to pay?” They urge other healthcare leaders to adopt a similar system of checks and balances when designing and implementing AI. If they don’t “…the electronic collective memory may take on an authority that was perhaps never intended. Clinicians may turn to machine learning for diagnosis and advice about treatments—not simply as a support tool,” they warned in the NEJM article. “If that happens, machine-learning tools will become important actors in the therapeutic relationship and will need to be bound by the core ethical principles, such as beneficence and respect for patients that have guided clinicians.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/arleneweintraub/2018/03/16/artificial-intelligence-is-infiltrating-medicine-but-is-it-ethical/#fba63863a24b [back to top]

Pedophilia

[No news today]

Pornography

USA – Shocking illegal content found in the Bitcoin Blockchain

The Bitcoin world is shocked by a revelation that could threaten the existence of the world’s foremost crypto currency. An analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain, the publicly accessible ledger of transactions which the system is built on, has revealed the data is irrevocably tainted with irremovable links to illegal child pornography, which are inevitably distributed among and by all users of the currency. The discovery of this, in addition to other questionable and possibly outlawed content stored within the blockchain, hypothetically makes Bitcoin ownership illegal in almost every country that has laws against pornography. A group of researchers from Germany’s RWTH Aachen University uncovered more than 1,600 inserted files on the blockchain, over 99 percent of which are texts or images, including links to child pornography. https://www.sciencealert.com/bitcoin-illegal-almost-everywhere-after-shocking-blockchain-discovery-child-pornography [back to top]

UK – Tough new laws will block X-rated videos online

The Government is planning on forcing people who watch porn to give over personal details if they want to carry on viewing. The age-check scheme is being rolled-out that will automatically stop people being able to access explicit material on their computers. This default setting can only be side-stepped by signing up to an age-verification program that means you’ll have to hand over info to identify yourself, such as passport details. The British Board of Film Classification which gives ratings to movies on the UK will be tasked with deciding which sites count as X-rated. https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/691283/porn-online-pornhub-redtube-uk-block-websites [back to top]

USA – Porn’s ‘devastating effects on children, family and society’

The first End Exploitation summit in 2018 features interviews with experts on the issue of pornography and how it hurts those who view it. Pornography viewers, says the documentary, often turn their now-distorted views on life, love, and sex towards secondary victims of porn. According to Family Watch International president Sharon Slater, the documentary (The Porn Pandemic: The Devastating Effects on Children, Family and Society) presents scientific evidence, expert commentary and personal testimonies showing the addictive nature of pornography. Slater continues by saying that “porn addictions can lead to violence against women, prostitution, trafficking in persons, and sexual crimes against women and children,” which are highlighted in the video. “The Porn Pandemic” link is below and is approximately 28 minutes long. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/the-porn-pandemic-documentary-shows-porns-devastating-effects-on-children-f [back to top]

Same Sex Attraction

UK – The problem with having 63 different genders

The BBC show ‘Daily Politics interviewed Melanie Phillips, a British Journalist, author, public commentator and LGBT rights activist on the issue of transgenderism. Phillips raised concerns on the 2020 proposal for the census whereby a third gender called ‘other’ offends transgender people. She said if any more gender options are added the census will no longer be a reliable principal source of statistics on the men and women in the country and this will hinder planning for services. Phillips explains that the transphobic label is being used as a weapon with an intolerant set of attitudes masquerading as compassion. https://youtu.be/tQlAhwwuG0E [back to top]

UK – Have we gone too far?

A new ‘trend’ called ‘trans-species’ has people believing they can live as animals and ‘trans-aging’ has people believing it is normal for a 52-year-old man to live as a six-year-old girl. We are also witnessing a push by paedophiles to normalise their sexual attraction to young children. All these ‘trends’ are considered, in psychology, to be atypical and extreme conditions that are harmful. This is a classic example of how progressively worse things can get with no end in sight when we decide to move the goal posts of what is healthy and normal. As health care workers we should have compassion on such people but by no means encourage this behaviour. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/transaging-father-leaves-wife-7-children-to-live-as-6-year-old-girl [back to top]

Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – MP caucus takes submissions on prostitution

Submissions have been heard on the SA Law Reform Commission’s report on prostitution. Just some of the participants were the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) and the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Embrace Dignity, Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation SA, Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Taskforce, Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation SA, trade union federation Cosatu and Doctors For Life International. Errol Naidoo of the Family Policy Institute said in a statement through the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation SA, which represents 31 organisations, that a decriminalised sex industry was the worst possible policy for SA. Chairperson, Masefele Morutoa said: “The SALRC report recommended either continued criminalisation or partial criminalisation, but no position was taken by Cabinet as yet.” https://citizen.co.za/news/1845663/mp-summit-takes-a-peak-at-sex-work/#.Wp5FWnjBFAc.facebook [back to top]

USA – ‘A Victory for Survivors’: Congress Passes Anti-Sex Tracking Bill

At long last Congress has passed a bill to combat online sex trafficking now that the Senate has approved the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), 97 to 2. It’s been a wide-open secret for years: pimps and traffickers use websites like BackPage to advertise women and children for sale. Law enforcement has turned to these sites to find criminals and victims but the prosecution of the internet companies has been largely out of the question. “Hopefully it will send a signal to people that sex exploitation isn’t the business to get in now,” said Lisa Thompson, vice president of research and education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. https://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/cbn-victory-survivors-congress-passes-anti-sex-tracking-bill-targets-backpage-bad-actors/ [back to top]

Substance Abuse

UK – One in 10 Sober People Have Cocaine or Heroin on Their Fingertips

There’s a lot of cocaine and heroin in the world and there’s a good chance you have some on your hands right now. A new paper published in the journal of Clinical Chemistry found that 13{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of drug-free study participants had traces of drugs on their fingertips. The participants were tested at the University of Surrey and had enough drugs on their hands to trip instruments and it did not go away when participants washed their hands. This study was confirmed by chemists who already knew that trace amounts of drugs are everywhere, said Rolf Halden, director of the Bio-design Center for Environmental Health Engineering at Arizona State University USA. ”Think of drugs on paper money,” used in conjunction with drugs said Halden. https://www.livescience.com/62099-cocaine-heroine-drug-finger-fingerprints.html [back to top] Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>

LIFEalerts 14 March 2018

Abortion

Ireland – Abortion is not Ireland’s standardUSA – Five states join 22 others to oppose abortion

Alternative Medicine

New Zealand – Pharmacy Councils’ position on alternative medicines disappointingUSA – FDA warns of fraudulent and unapproved flu products USA – Herbalist who replaced insulin with oils charged with teen’s death

Euthanasia

Sweden – Mechanisms propelling euthanasia/assisted suicide movementJapan – Is the WMA going to change on euthanasia? USA – Rejection of proposed New Hampshire assisted suicide Bill USA – Discussion of possible Hawaiian assisted suicide

IVF and Surrogacy

[No news today]

Medical Ethics

USA – Former NFL players turn to stem-cell therapies for helpNetherlands – Parliament passes opt-out organ donation law USA – Biohacking: the future of the biosciences? USA – Potential organ donors fear inadequate treatment

Pedophilia

[No news today]

Pornography

South Africa- Award-winning film is classified as hard-core pornographyUSA – Porn makes men prefer sex with robots over real women

Same Sex Attraction

UK – LGBT group linked to paedophilia ringUSA – Challenging the transgender narrative

Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – What the price of prostitutes teaches about SA economyIreland – ‘It’s not normal’ ex prostitute calls for crackdown on escort agency websites

Substance Abuse

USA – Vaping debate: do e-cigarettes cause cancer?USA – Study: “Medical marijuana” outlets don’t only sell to the sick South Africa – Durban calls for halt on supply of free syringes to addicts USA – Judge tosses lawsuit challenging federal marijuana laws

Abortion

Ireland – Abortion is not Ireland’s standard

Abortion group Amnesty International is seeking to repeal Irelands’ abortion ban with money donated by billionaire George Soros. Amnesty was ordered by the Irish Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) to take back the $160,964 donation. The money was intended to fund the “My Body, My Rights” campaign but Ireland’s finance laws prohibits foreign donors from giving to groups that seek to sway elections or public policy. https://www.onenewsnow.com/pro-life/2017/12/24/ireland-to-soros-take-back-your-abortion-money [back to top]

USA – Five states join 22 others to oppose abortion

In the USA, five more states have raised the standards to oppose the killing of the unborn. Pro-lifers have managed to raise awareness and win the hearts of 27 states in an incredible display of effort and persistence to protect the babies in the womb. South Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, Mississippi and Iowa – all voted on restricting or banning abortions. The most impressive of the recent five states is Iowa that voted to ban all types of abortions and doctors who perform abortions after a foetal heartbeat is detected could be facing felony charges and five years in prison. https://www.liveaction.org/news/south-carolina-state-senate-will-vote-on-personhood-bill/ https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-mississippi-senate-votes-to-ban-abortions-after-15-weeks https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/west-virginia/articles/2018-03-05/west-virginia-house-opposes-constitutional-abortion-rights https://rewire.news/article/2018/03/02/iowa-state-senate-passes-unconstitutional-total-abortion-ban/ https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/florida-passes-bill-banning-dismemberment-abortions [back to top]

Alternative Medicine

New Zealand – Pharmacy Councils’ position on alternative medicines disappointing

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) is disappointed that the Pharmacy Council has weakened its stand on selling non-evidence based products. “The latest version of the Pharmacy Code of Ethics, permits pharmacists to supply complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) that have no current evidence of proven efficacy,” says NZMA Chair Dr Kate Baddock. “This is particularly serious given the lack of regulation in this area, now that the Natural Products Bill has been dropped from the Parliamentary agenda.”The proposed Bill was a ‘backstop’, which meant that pharmacists could rely on the regulator to consider evidence and quality. “Evidence-based medicine is a key tenet of the medical profession’s Code of Ethics, maintained by the NZMA. It is most disappointing that our colleagues in the pharmacy profession do not share this.” http://www.voxy.co.nz/health/5/305263 [back to top]

USA – FDA warns of fraudulent and unapproved flu products

“This year the flu has been widespread, impacting millions of patients across the country, and leading to a new record number of flu-related hospitalizations,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “We understand the toll this year’s flu season has taken on peoples’ lives. As the flu continues to make people sick and even cause deaths, unscrupulous actors may also be taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers by promoting their fraudulent products that have not been reviewed by the FDA to be safe and effective. The FDA is warning consumers to be alert and to try and steer clear of fraudulent flu products, which may be found online or in retail stores. We’re advising consumers on some of the telltale signs to look for when trying to spot flu products that may be fraudulent. https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm599223.htm [back to top]

USA – Herbalist who replaced insulin with oils charged with teen’s death

An herbalist who claimed he used alternative medicine to cure his own cancer has been charged with the death of a 13-year-old boy after he allegedly replaced his insulin with herbal oils. Timothy Morrow, 83, was charged with child abuse, causing death and practicing medicine without a license, Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. When the boy became semi-comatose in August 2014 due to complications from his diabetes, Morrow told his parents to treat their son with the herbal oils he sold rather than insulin which was prescribed by qualified medical doctors. Type 1 Diabetes is caused by an autoimmune response which stops the body from making insulin. According to the Centers for Disease Control people with Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day in order to survive. http://www.newsweek.com/herbalist-who-cured-cancer-herbs-charged-death-after-treating-boys-diabetes-836132 [back to top]

Euthanasia

Sweden – Mechanisms propelling euthanasia/assisted suicide movement

An article by Swedish researcher Fabian Stahle, in the Journal of Medical Ethics in Mental Health explains the mechanism of the euthanasia lobby to change the concept of killing through the mechanism known as Moral Disengagement. By examining Albert Bandura’s theory of Moral Disengagement based on social cognitive theory to justify acts that are otherwise considered inhumane to become acceptable, the pro-euthanasia movement uses highly potent psychological mechanisms to propel its agenda and coerce well-socialized persons into participating and accepting the killing of fellow human-beings. Operating at the behavior locus are three separate disengagement mechanisms that convert the construal of injurious conduct into righteous conduct. Moral justification is used to vindicate injurious means. Second, by the use of sanitizing euphemistic language, injurious conduct is rendered benign. Exonerative comparison with even more flagrant inhumanities is a third mechanism for cloaking injurious behavior in an aura of benevolence. http://www.jemh.ca/issues/v9/documents/JEMH{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}20article{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}20Stahle{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}20final{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}20proof{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}20-{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}20copy-edited.pdf [back to top]

Japan – Is the WMA going to change on euthanasia?

Even though the legalisation of euthanasia has been gathering momentum around the world, the World Medical Association (WMA) has refused to support it. Dr John Lee, the president of Fédération Internationale des Associations de Médecins Catholiques (FIAMC) has issued a stark warning about impending changes in WMA policy. The WMA has plans to introduce two policy measures to facilitate worldwide abortion and euthanasia by curtailing doctors’ conscientious objection. By saying that the WMA does not condemn physicians who perform euthanasia where it is legal, the WMA is saying that euthanasia can be ethical if it is legal. https://www.mercatornet.com/careful/view/is-the-world-medical-association-going-to-change-on-euthanasia/21078 [back to top]

USA – Rejection of proposed New Hampshire assisted suicide Bill

Bill SB 490 was defeated by 12 votes to 10 which would have opened a “gateway” for legalizing physician assisted suicide. Assisted suicide has become a cost cutting measure that puts a dollar sign between the patient and caregiver. Palliative, rehabilitative and psychological care will always be more expensive than a lethal dose of a drug. Neutrality on assisted suicide is never acceptable policy. Honest discussion of end-of-life issues in New Hampshire has to begin with calling assisted suicide by its right name. The New Hampshire Senate, by a narrow margin, refused to be neutral. https://www.nhcornerstone.org/latest-news/senate-rejects-assisted-suicide/ [back to top]

USA – Discussion of possible Hawaiian assisted suicide

A joint committee hearing scheduled for February 2018 will discuss the legislation of physician assisted suicide in the state of Hawaii. House Bill 2739 which is modeled after California’s law entitled ‘Our Care, Our Choice’ would institute a process where adult residents in Hawaii with a medically confirmed terminal illness, and less than six months to live, could request a prescription for medication that would end their life. https://patientsrightsaction.org/hearing-set-for-a-bill-that-would-legalize-assisted-suicide-in-hawaii/ [back to top]

IVF and Surrogacy

[No news today]

Medical Ethics

USA – Former NFL players turn to stem-cell therapies for help

Several former members of the Dallas Cowboys had received experimental stem-cell therapy in Mexico to deal with pain and injuries. Bob Lilly, once a top defensive lineman, said he had received two separate treatments offered by Texas stem cell company Celltex. “I have no pain,” Lilly said. “And that’s pretty unusual when you’ve played 24 years of football”. Several of Celltex’s treatments are yet to be approved by the FDA, and in many cases the company flies clients to Mexico to receive stem cell injections. Bur neurologist Michael De Georgia of Cleveland Medical Centre cautions: “we need to be very cautious about claims and promises to patients who may be under the assumption or the belief that this therapy has been shown to be effective, and it hasn’t”. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/former-nfl-players-turn-to-stem-cell-therapies-for-help/12606 [back to top]

Netherlands – Parliament passes opt-out organ donation law

The Dutch parliament has narrowly passed a bill that requires every person over 18 to notify government officials if they do not want to be an organ donor. The law is intended to reduce pressure on next-of-kin, who are often required to make decisions about organ donation on behalf of the deceased. Critics have complained that it puts too much authority in the hands of the government over what happens to a citizen after their death. Bioethicist Wesley J Smith suggested that in some cases euthanasia “without request or consent” could be combined with presumed consent for organ donation: “a patient could very conceivably be both killed and harvested without having requested it”. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/netherlands-passes-opt-out-organ-donation-law/12605 [back to top]

USA – Biohacking: the future of the biosciences?

Biohacking, or do-it-yourself biology, attempts to take what have traditionally been university or institute-based scientific disciplines – molecular biology, genetics, bioengineering, and so forth – and make them more available to the general public. Several grass-roots biohacking organisations have surfaced in recent years, including biophysicist Josiah Zayner’s company The Odin. Zayner aims to make experimental biotechnologies available to the public – particularly equipment for genetic engineering. “One of my big problems with academic and medical science is [that] lots of stuff…won’t be available to the general public for 10, 20, 30, 40 years…How do you expect this technology go forward if they aren’t testing, playing around it? What is too early and what is too late? I don’t know if there’s an answer. The US Food and Drug Administration recently issued a harshly worded statement cautioning consumers against DIY gene-therapy kits and calling their sale illegal. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/biohacking-the-future-of-the-biosciences/12612 [back to top]

USA – Potential organ donors fear inadequate treatment

According to an article published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons medical researchers from Emory University found the main deterrent for organ donation is a misperception that one will receive inadequate medical care if registered as an organ donor. The results of the survey also indicated other factors deterring people from donating such an increased cost for the donor family when donating organs. “Educating the public regarding these and other misperceptions is desperately needed,” says Dr Marty T. Sellers of Emory University School of Medicine, the lead author of the paper. “With education, we believe this would convert more eligible donors into actual donors, which would shorten waiting times and allow transplantation earlier in a disease process. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/potential-organ-donors-fear-inadequate-treatment/12610 [back to top]

Pedophilia

[No news today]

Pornography

South Africa- Award-winning film is classified as hard-core pornography

South Africa’s award-winning film Inxeba (The Wound), has been classified as X18 by the Film and Publication Board Appeal Tribunal after protest from interests groups CONTRALESA Gauteng and The Men and Boy Foundation because of elements of sex, language, nudity, violence and Prejudice”. The film can only be distributed from designated adult premises. The reclassification of Inxeba also follows multiple protests against the film’s screening. This included a protest at a Nu Metro cinema in Port Elizabeth at the start of February. Protesters called for a boycotting of the film and the mall which hosted the cinema. https://mybroadband.co.za/news/broadcasting/248737-south-africas-latest-award-winning-film-has-been-classified-as-hard-core-pornography-by-the-fpb.html [back to top]

USA – Porn makes men prefer sex with robots over real women

Internet pornography has caused men to prefer robotic sex dolls rather than women, according to a man profiting by this booming new sex doll industry. The overuse of pornography has perpetuated unrealistic expectations about women that cause men to turn to robotic dolls. The creator of the “Samantha” robot, Arran Wright, claimed that his robot responds when you tell her you love her. He also boasted that his robot can go into “family” mode and interact with his children. Critics of sex doll robots say that the child-like ones that have been created will increase, rather than reduce, sex abuse by paedophiles. There are also robots that can be programmed to respond as if they are being raped. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/sex-robot-manufacturer-porn-makes-men-prefer-sex-with-robots-over-real-wome [back to top]

Same Sex Attraction

UK – LGBT group linked to paedophilia ring

An LGBT group in the UK has been urged to investigate allegations of connections to a paedophile ring after Matthew Sephton, 42, the former chairman of the group, was jailed and convicted at Manchester Crown Court for sharing the most horrendous child abuse images. Apparently the group was warned three years ago of suspicious activity within the gay rights group linking them to a wider paedophile scandal. It is alarming to see so many reports surfacing on the LGBT groups and the link to paedophile activity. http://www.breitbart.com/london/2018/01/28/mail-sunday-tory-party-lgbt-group-linked-paedophile-ring/ [back to top]

USA – Challenging the transgender narrative

In a short video clip Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson challenges Zac Petkanas, a Democratic National Committee Senior Advisor on the issue of ‘gender-neutral’ bathrooms. Petkanas was adamant that you don’t need any other way to define you’re gender other than what you say it is. Carlson asked whether a scientific foundation exists for concluding that a man becomes a woman by saying he is now a woman and does he then get to play women’s sports because he says he is a woman. The thought that you can be ‘gender-neutral’ or one of 50 other gender options has never been attempted in human history and has confused and concerned many American people. https://youtu.be/jWJ8WCNjpME [back to top]

Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – What the price of prostitutes teaches about SA economy

High unemployment rates, a symptom of an ailing economy, have meant that many young people find their only source of income in selling their bodies. What’s more, it’s a case of small change in the sex trade in small towns across the country. Marius Oosthuizen, a leadership, strategy and ethics expert at the Gordon Institute of Business Science says he pays close attention to the price of prostitutes in his field work because it helps provide a nuanced sense of the micro-economy. In the rural areas it costs just R50. What he sees is tragic and underscores a major block in kick starting economic growth. South Africa has a largely consolidated economic sector that is unlikely to create jobs on a massive scale without significant policy change. https://www.biznews.com/thought-leaders/2018/02/23/prostitutes-sa-micro-economy/ [back to top]

Ireland – ‘It’s not normal’ ex prostitute calls for crackdown on escort agency websites

Rachel Moran was forced to work in prostitution at just 15-years-old after she became homeless. Now 42, she is urging the government to shut down escort agency websites and put pimps out of business to try and end Ireland’s prostitution problem. The business of having your body used is relentlessly traumatic for any woman who has any type of sense of herself. “It’s not normal to use a human being like a sex doll”. Research has found that one in 12 Irish men pay for sex and that there are around 1,000 people working as prostitutes. “There is no such thing as sex work, because prostitution is neither sex, nor work, its sexual abuse and monetized molestations. The Government needs to shut down the online escort agencies. “It’s a really ridiculous situation when you have a law that criminalizes a behavior, but you have a website that facilitates the same behavior. https://www.thesun.ie/news/2223457/ex-prostitute-rachel-moran-calls-for-crackdown-on-escort-agency-websites-as-she-relives-relentlessly-traumatic-life-as-an-escort/ [back to top]

Substance Abuse

USA – Vaping debate: do e-cigarettes cause cancer?

Latest research on health impacts of the growing trend in E-cigarette devices are promoted as a safer alternative to tobacco .New US research shows that vaping is “far from harmless” and could pose a serious health risk. A US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine review examined the effects of e-cigarette smoke on mice and lab-grown human cells by exposing them to a 10mg/ml e-cigarette solution for three hours a day, five days a week, for four months. This dose would be equivalent to light vaping for ten years, say the researchers, from the New York University School of Medicine. The mice exposed to e-cigarette smoke had “higher levels of DNA damage” in the heart, lungs, and bladder, compared with a control group exposed to filtered air, according to the team. Scientists also recorded damage to the human cells that in turn inhibits the process whereby the body repairs them and increases the possibility of cancer. http://www.theweek.co.uk/checked-out/91552/vaping-debate-do-e-cigarettes-cause-cancer [back to top]

USA – Study: “Medical marijuana” outlets don’t only sell to the sick

A study of four medical marijuana outlets in California showed that dispensaries attracted many customers outside of their immediate area and appeared to target specific ethnic, gender and/or age groups. “If you need a prescription, you’re not going to go across town to fill it — you’re going to go to the pharmacy closest to where you live. That’s what we should be seeing with medical marijuana dispensaries.” said Bridget Freisthler, co-author of the study and professor of social work at Ohio State University. Instead, these dispensaries are acting more like bars, which develop niche markets she said. “While there has been speculation that medical dispensaries target recreational users, now we are starting to collect evidence that suggests this is true,” she said. The results appear online in the journal Substance Use & Misuse. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180212085851.htm [back to top]

South Africa – Durban calls for halt on supply of free syringes to addicts

Mayor Zandile Gumede tasked City officials to urgently address the issue and said while the matter was being investigated that the distribution of syringes to drug addicts must stop. The city’s Legal Compliance Unit has also been approached to provide an opinion on the legality of supplying the syringes with needles to communities without ensuring a proper, restricted disposal process by the project owner. Officials were finding a number of discarded, used syringes on the beachfront which had to be cordoned off for safety reasons. “An investigation was launched and it was discovered that a company operating in Durban has been supplying syringes to the public who requested it, as a way to stop the sharing of syringes. However, there are no control measures in place regarding disposal,” deputy mayor Fawzia peer added. “They are using the syringes and leaving it on the ground. However, this company has a memorandum of agreement with the national and provincial departments of health to supply syringes. She added that it was a serious concern and a societal problem with youngsters being given leeway to do drugs. https://bereamail.co.za/128615/city-calls-halt-supply-free-syringes-addicts/ [back to top]

USA – Judge tosses lawsuit challenging federal marijuana laws

A judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging federal laws criminalizing marijuana as unconstitutional, saying the five plaintiffs had failed to pursue changes in the drug’s legal status by first going through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein did not address the plaintiffs claim that marijuana has medical benefits, but said the DEA has the authority to make that decision and not the courts. Michael Hiller, lead attorney for the plaintiffs said they would appeal the decision. The suit originally was filed as a growing number of states broke with the federal government and declared marijuana to be legal. Thirty have now legalized it in some fashion, including six for recreational use. The lawsuit challenged the listing of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, a category that includes heroin and LSD. The federal government says drugs under that classification have no accepted medical use and cannot legally be prescribed. www.pressherald.com/2018/02/27/judge-tosses-lawsuit-challenging-federal-marijuana-laws/ [back to top] Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International  ]]>

Special Life Alert: USA – Yale data: Cancer patients relying on unproven alternative treatments likely to die two and a half times sooner

a July article by several Yale physicians is the most-discussed paper ever published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI). The title of this blockbuster: “Use of Alternative Medicine for Cancer and Its Impact on Survival.” “It struck a chord,” said senior author James Yu, MD, MHS, Associate Professor of Therapeutic Radiology. The Yale researchers used the U.S. National Cancer Database to collect information on patients with breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancer from 2004 to 2013. They looked for people who reported using only unproven alternative treatments instead of conventional medical therapies such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The researchers found 280 such people and then compared their outcomes after 5½ years to 560 people with the same cancer, diagnosis, age, and race who had received conventional treatment. The results were clear. Patients who initially relied on unproven alternatives were, on average, 250{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} times more likely to die within the 5½ year window. Within particular cancers, the risk associated with alternative medicine was often much worse—almost 600{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} higher for patients with breast cancer, 400{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} for colon cancer and 200{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} for lung cancer. The researchers have some theories about this seeming conundrum. Dr. Johnson mentions the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which people overestimate their knowledge, in part by relying on the Internet. Could this be true? Skyler Johnson, MD, Resident in Therapeutic Radiology and the paper’s lead author thinks the discrepancy in survival rates would be even more alarming if the patients had been followed for longer than five years to take into account slow-growing cancers such as prostate cancer. He also calls the 280 people identified as using only alternative medicine “a huge underestimate” because the researchers excluded a large group of patients who had been coded as having refused treatment, with no reason given. Dr. Johnson suspects that many of them chose an alternative therapy first but did not report it to their physicians. Another interesting finding from the paper was that people who preferred alternative treatments tended to have had more formal education, and higher incomes. Dr. Yu speculates that people with higher incomes can afford more types of healthcare and know how to seek them out, such as clinical trials. “But in this case it’s wishful thinking,” he said. “These alternatives don’t necessarily cause harm, but they’re placebos, and placebos don’t cure cancer, but they can delay real cancer care.” Co-author Cary P. Gross, MD, Professor of Medicine and of Epidemiology, wasn’t that surprised by the demographic finding, citing increased scepticism about science and conventional medicine that has driven things such as the anti-vaccination movement. “And just as the Internet and social media have fuelled discord in the political process,” he added, “they also have enabled conspiracy theories about medicine and health to spread rapidly and wildly.” The researchers also believe, based on their own patients that the number of people choosing alternative treatments over conventional ones is increasing. “I understand the human impulse to think there’s got to be something else,” said Dr. Yu. “And when the answer is ‘no, there isn’t’, then there’s the opportunity for someone to say, ‘Just rub these crystals or sit in a salt bath or eat special food.’” All of the researchers noted that the problem should not be pinned only on patients and providers of alternative medicine. “Physicians need to shoulder some of the blame as well,” said Dr. Johnson. “We need to take the time to really listen to patients’ concerns and explain things more clearly. That builds a relation of trust, and makes them more willing to believe the data.” Dr. Yu agrees. “We need to bring these conversations about alternative therapies to the forefront,” he said, “and because of this study we now have the data to help us.” The researchers also noted that their work focused on alternative medicine, when patients choose not to receive conventional medical therapies, rather than “complementary medicine,” in which patients undergo conventional cancer treatment as well as additional therapies from disciplines that are not part of traditional Western medicine. The researchers know that facts and data won’t be enough to persuade everyone, a common symptom of our time, but their paper is a start. They hope it convinces a few people to reconsider relying on alternative treatments, or prompts someone to insist that a loved one see an oncologist. “That’s why we do research,” said Dr. Johnson. “We try to help people one at a time, and hopefully our research can help patients and families to make more informed decisions.” http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/688151 Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>

LIFEalerts: 23 February 2018

Abortion

USA – New Study observes emotional suffering after abortionTasmania – more states join to oppose abortion

Alternative Medicine

[No news today]

Euthanasia

South Africa – African Medical Doctors Reject EuthanasiaBelgium – Death on Demand

IVF and Surrogacy

USA – Scientists grow human eggs to maturity in vitro

Medical Ethics

USA – Enthusiasm for gene therapy cools after animal testsUK – Politician calls for quicker access to experimental cancer treatments

Pedophilia

UK – Killer of Jamie Bulger Admits possession of pedophilia material AGAIN

Pornography

[No news today]

Same Sex Attraction

USA – Normalising the LGBT agenda is child abuseZimbabwe – New President joins Ghana’s stance on homosexuality

Sexual Exploitation

Australia – Former prostitute calls for its endNetherlands – Aspiring prostitutes Can Now Get a Certified Diploma Netherlands – Prostitutes School Means Trouble for Cannabis Store

Substance Abuse

UK – Government not about to legalize medicinal Marijuana for pain medication

Abortion

USA – New Study observes emotional suffering after abortion

A new study was published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons last year December, the main Author is Dr. Priscilla K. Coleman, a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University USA. The online survey of 987 women with a history of abortion, revealed how they suffered a variety of psychological effects such as shame, anger, regret, depression and suicide attempts all which they attribute to their abortion. Some woman suffered damaged relationships with their husbands and children because of the anger and regret. Many other women said their abortion stimulated changes in their life that inclined them to become part of the pro-life movement. http://www.jpands.org/vol22no4/coleman.pdf [back to top]

Tasmania – more states join to oppose abortion

n 2013 Tasmania passed a Reproductive Health Bill that permits the killing of unborn babies. Health Minister Michael Ferguson has been vocal in opposing abortion since then and has joined church leaders to protest and oppose the bill. Their ongoing effort has lead to the closing of the last abortion clinic in the state after 17 years. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-13/tasmanias-only-abortion-clinic-closes/9325194 [back to top]

Alternative Medicine

[No news today]

Euthanasia

South Africa – African Medical Doctors Reject Euthanasia

In early 2002 Wesley Smith was invited to offer an opening keynote speech against euthanasia at a South African bioethics conference. All of these years later, I am pleased to report that, The World Medical Association (WMA) African region has called for strengthening of palliative care for patients with terminally ill ailments across Africa. The president said the African region rejected physicians assisted suicide and euthanasia, describing them as contrary to the physician’s oath. It is good to know that African doctors have not forgotten the profession’s venerable stand against the active killing of patients. Contemporary doctors in the West could learn from their African colleagues. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/456110/african-mds-reject-euthanasia [back to top]

Belgium – Death on Demand

Dr Ludo Vanopdenbosch, a neurologist, resigned as a member in of the Federal Commission for Euthanasia Control and Evaluation due to gross negligence in Belgium’s euthanasia regulatory body. Legislation regarding physician assisted suicide in Belgium provides euthanasia “rights” for patients regardless of mental capabilities. Recently, a patient who suffered dementia was euthanized at the request of her family in spite of the fact that the patient did not reveal any request for euthanasia. Divisions within the medical establishment regarding euthanasia for psychiatric reasons and issues of transparency in health care systems even one as liberal as Belgium, has been brought to the surface despite efforts to make more information available. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/belgiums-euthanasia-commission-is-under-fire/12604 [back to top]

IVF and Surrogacy

USA – Scientists grow human eggs to maturity in vitro

A group of scientists based in Edinburgh and New York have grown several human oocytes to maturity in vitro, raising hopes of a solution for women at risk of premature fertility loss. Writing in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction, the researcher team – led by Edinburgh University biologist Evelyn Telfer – describe a method for growing and maturing human oocytes (eggs) within primordial follicles (obtained from biopsies of ovaries) all the way through to oocytes that might be capable of being fertilized. “The novel aspect of this current work is to have joined [several steps of development] into one continuous process”, said Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Group Leader at The Francis Crick Institute. Essentially, the suggestion is that scientists may be able to grow eggs from ovarian tissue, all the way from early stages to later development stages, ready for fertilization by sperm; and that this process could be achieved outside of the human body. Experts say the research opens the door to a new approach to fertility preservation for women at risk of premature fertility loss – such as those undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The paper comes in the wake of research into gestation bags for premature neonates and a renewed interest in the development of embryos in vitro. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/scientists-grow-human-eggs-to-maturity-in-vitro/12594 [back to top]

Medical Ethics

USA – Enthusiasm for gene therapy cools after animal tests

A new gene therapy technique that uses high doses of viruses to carry healthy genes to cells recently brought relief to 15 babies suffering from a lethal neuromuscular condition. As the first human trial with high-doses of the AAV9 virus, its success gave a huge boost to the gene-therapy field. “People are going to look back and see this as a milestone in a new type of medicine that’s going to have broad implications for lots and lots of diseases,” one researcher told Science last year. However, those hopes were chilled this week when a leading gene-therapy researcher who was involved in the successful trial also published a study in which high-dose AAV9 infusions severely affected animals. Three young rhesus macaque monkeys developed liver failure and three piglets had motor neurone damage. Some of them had to be euthanized. The cause was not immediately apparent. R. Jude Samulski, of the University of North Carolina, told MIT Technology Review that the combination of scientific ambition, technological advances, desperate patients, and potential financial windfalls could lead again to disaster. “It would be very naïve for our community to assume we won’t have toxic effects,” he says. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/enthusiasm-for-gene-therapy-cools-after-animal-tests/12591 [back to top]

UK – Politician calls for quicker access to experimental cancer treatments

Baroness Jowell, who is suffering from a malignant brain tumour known as glioblastoma, addressed the House of Lords arguing that the approval process for cancer treatments needs to be quicker, and advocates the use of what are called “adaptive clinical trials” to test cancer drugs. They do this by taking a more flexible approach, allowing multiple drugs to be tested within the same trial. As a result, drugs that hold promise can be rapidly identified and tested, while other less effective drugs can be discarded. Writing in The Conversation, neuropathologist Silvia Marino and oncologist Peter Hall of Queen Mary University described the use of adaptive trials as a “more flexible approach for a new era”: “For patients with rapidly progressing, life-threatening conditions, such as glioblastoma, [adaptive trials] can make the difference between having access to a new drug or not”. But many are skeptical of the proposal. But Indiana University clinician Scott Saxman warned of significant ethical concerns including “loss of equipoise, lack of processes for adequate informed consent, and inequalities inherent in the research design which could lead to perceptions of injustice that may have negative implications for patients and the research enterprise”. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/uk-politician-calls-for-quicker-access-to-experimental-cancer-treatments/12582 [back to top]

Pedophilia

UK – Killer of Jamie Bulger Admits possession of pedophilia material AGAIN

Jon Venables, one of James Bulger’s killers, pleaded guilty to having more than 1,000 child abuse images and a “pedophile manual “.Venables was sentenced to 40 months in jail. Mr. Justice Edis said, “This case is unique because when you were 10 years old you took part in the murder and torture of James Bulger.” He served eight years for the murder before being released on license in 2001 with a new identity and granted lifelong anonymity. It’s the second time that Venables has been caught with child abuse images. In 2010, he was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to distributing child pornography. A report found that Venables has a “high risk of real harm to children in the future” and a “long-term and profound interest in children,”139 http://mb.ntd.tv/2018/02/07/james-bulger-killer-admits-to-having-indecent-images-of-children/ [back to top]

Pornography

[No news today]

Same Sex Attraction

USA – Normalising the LGBT agenda is child abuse

A Family Association group called ‘One Million Moms’ is protesting and driving a wide-spread awareness campaign, calling on families to resist the publication of pro-homosexual and pro-transgender books for children. The American College of Paediatricians warns “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthy is child abuse”. Numerous studies, research and therapists confirm that the lifestyle is harmful on many levels and even more research exists that change is possible. https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/01/15/one-million-moms-calls-for-scholastic-protest-over-pro-homosexual-pro-transgender-books [back to top]

Zimbabwe – New President joins Ghana’s stance on homosexuality

The new President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said he would focus on repaying debts, embracing the international economy and modernizing infrastructure. However, the President shares Ghana’s views on homosexuality and said in an interview with CNN that it is not his duty to campaign for LGBT rights and that “In our constitution it is banned and it is my duty to obey my constitution.” http://www.towleroad.com/2018/01/emmerson-mnangagwa/ [back to top]

Sexual Exploitation

Australia – Former prostitute calls for its end

A former prostitute says the more money that you charge the more you are expected to do. Gwyneth Montenegro a former prostitute had slept with over 10,000 men. She has revealed that she had the problem of physical violence. The glamorization of the industry leads women to believe becoming a prostitute will afford them a life of luxury, when that reality is far from the truth. The biggest problem with the portrayal of prostitution and escorting in the media is polarizing. She also said: “I will never forget that sickening feeling, deep in the pit of my stomach, as I waited the results from a series of STD tests. What had I done with my life? Why had I been so foolish?” http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/sex-worker-prostitution-escorting-escort-services-gwyneth-montenegro-glamour-media-tv-films-secret-a8184791.html [back to top]

Netherlands – Aspiring prostitutes Can Now Get a Certified Diploma

A new Dutch organization by and for sex workers in collaboration with the city of Amsterdam has officially opened The School for Amsterdam Prostitutes. The new institution will provide a 4-month course for aspiring prostitutes from all over the world. The course offers “sexual knowledge” for its participants. The cost for enrolment will be 400 Euros. This is in large part due to subsidies by the city of Amsterdam and volunteer teachers. http://www.amsterdamredlightdistricttour.com/news/school-for-amsterdam-prostitutes-opens-its-doors/ [back to top]

Netherlands – Prostitutes School Means Trouble for Cannabis Store

Not everybody is happy with the arrival of a new school. Due to current Dutch laws there is a big chance that the world famous cannabis/coffee shop, ‘The Bull Dog’, will eventually have to close its doors. The so called “distance rules” ordains that coffee shops within a 250 meter range of a school should be closed. The School Of Amsterdam Prostitutes will be located 249 meters from cannabis store. http://www.amsterdamredlightdistricttour.com/news/school-for-amsterdam-prostitutes-opens-its-doors/ [back to top]

Substance Abuse

UK – Government not about to legalize medicinal Marijuana for pain medication

Rhian Cowen a Multiple Sclerosis patient said she had experienced “frightening” symptoms from the disease before using products which contain cannabis to ease pain. Cannabis should be made available on prescription to stop people who use it to ease pain being criminalised. Assembly Members argued in a Senate debate that they want the UK to change the law. They were concerned that some living with conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) that are using cannabis are putting them at risk of prosecution by purchasing illegal marijuana. But the UK government said it had no plans to legalise the Class B drug and that the Home Office said there is clear scientific and medical evidence that it is harmful. Cannabis is currently banned for sale in the UK and that for the foreseeable future it will remain that way. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-politics-42709244 [back to top] Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>

LIFEalerts 09 February 2018

Abortion

USA – Trump protects doctors’ conscience rights on abortionUSA – Abortion giant seeks revenue in gender-confused minors USA – More abortion workers change their minds USA – New Bill protects babies born alive after botched abortions

Alternative Medicine

[No news today]

Euthanasia

India – Elderly couple seek euthanasiaSwitzerland – Lobsters are above humans Netherlands – Dutch euthanasia regulator quits her post Netherlands – Where will it end?

IVF and Surrogacy

[No news today]

Medical Ethics

Italy – Parliament passes controversial end-of-life billUSA – Trump administration moves to defend conscience rights UK – Parliament to debate conscientious objection Japan – First compensation claim for compulsory sterilisation

Pedophilia

UK – Paedophiles on twitter trying to normalise attraction to childrenRussia – Government clamps down on paedophile offenses USA – LGBT lingerie shop uses 9 year-old boy as a model

Pornography

USA – Legislation to lock internet for porn unless users pay feeUK – Is it legal to swap someone’s face into porn without consent? UK – Citizens may soon use their passports to access pornography

Same Sex Attraction

USA – Teen threatened to commit suicide for being called a boy nameItaly – Doctor who was accused for defamation found not guilty Bermuda – Island seeks to ban same-sex marriage USA – Ban on change therapy faces legal challenge

Sexual Exploitation

Canada – Who are we talking about when we talk about prostitution?India – Measures for the government to outwit prostitution in India

Substance Abuse

USA – Cannabis: Brain alterations may explain feelings of alienationUSA – Volunteer to Cuddle Drug Addicted Babies

Abortion

USA – Trump protects doctors’ conscience rights on abortion

Pro-Life groups are applauding President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for creating a division of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that will enforce, “laws and regulations that protect conscience and prohibit coercion on issues such as abortion and assisted suicide.” According to the OCR website healthcare workers can now file complaints when they experience coercion or discrimination of any sort. President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement, “This Administration realizes that abortion is a highly controversial, brutal act against unborn children and their mothers and affirms the right of all Americans not to be forced to participate in abortion.” https://www.hhs.gov/conscience/conscience-protections/index.html [back to top]

USA – Abortion giant seeks revenue in gender-confused minors

Pro-life group activities have managed to shrink abortion rates in the U.S. and tighten regulations. For this reason Planned Parenthood (PP) is looking towards a new source of revenue – hormone ‘sex-change’ drugs for minors – despite the warnings and regrets shared by former transgender persons and many mental health professionals. PP insists on their website that feeling confused about your gender is not a sign of mental illness or stress and no letter from a therapist is needed before starting treatment. Evidently PP is not concerned about the regrets young people would face after mutilating healthy body parts. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/planned-parenthood-taps-into-sex-change-therapy-for-minors-as-new-revenue-s [back to top]

USA – More abortion workers change their minds

For many pro-lifers it is encouraging to hear how Myra Neyer quit working at an abortion clinic in Baltimore. It took one moment to make her realize how horrible abortion is. Myra and a co-worker cried as they cleaned up the body parts of four baby boys that a girl came to abort. The girl didn’t want to abort but her boyfriend forced her because he didn’t want children. Myra said she couldn’t handle seeing how lost and blank the girl looked after the abortion and then decided she was done with being part of the work. Myra now inspires women to choose life and shares how she is raising five children since she became a widow. http://dailysignal.com/2018/01/18/crying-one-woman-shares-left-planned-parenthood/ [back to top]

USA – New Bill protects babies born alive after botched abortions

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 4712) was passed this year by the U.S. House. This bill protects babies born alive after a failed abortion attempt and states that such babies ought to be transported to the hospital for care. Penalties are also in place should health professionals not adhere and allows for the mother to sue if her baby is killed by intent or neglect. Former abortion clinic workers have been witnesses to the horrible killing of babies born alive such as the case in 2013 of Dr Kermit Gosnell, who slit the spinal cords of at least ten babies. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-u.s.-congress-votes-to-protect-babies-who-survive-botched-abortion [back to top]

Alternative Medicine

[No news today]

Euthanasia

India – Elderly couple seek euthanasia

A healthy elderly couple has asked the Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind, to grant them joint euthanasia because their lives are of no use. Narayan Lavate 88 and his wife Iravati 78, have no children or siblings. The couple view themselves as having “no use for society.” They argue that keeping them alive against their wishes is nothing less than imprisonment and a waste of the country’s scarce resources as well as theirs. The influence of humanist philosophy prevails in the couple’s utilitarian appeal to society. If their desire is granted the couple would consent to donating their bodies after death and whatever wealth they have to the state treasury. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/455346/elderly-indian-couple-ask-joint-active-euthanasia [back to top]

Switzerland – Lobsters are above humans

The Swiss Supreme Court has declared a constitutional right to assisted suicide for the mentally ill. However, Switzerland’s enshrining of “plant dignity” into law, its outlawing the boiling of lobsters and the flushing of goldfish, but abandoning the despaired, disabled and mentally ill to go into extinction in suicide clinics, are symptomatic of our fast-eroding ability in the West to think critically, and to distinguish serious from lesser ethical concerns. https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/swiss-follies/ [back to top]

Netherlands – Dutch euthanasia regulator quits her post

Berna van Baarsen, a medical ethicist has said she could not support “a major shift” in the interpretation of her country’s euthanasia law to endorse lethal injections for increasing numbers of dementia patients. Miss van Baarsen is the second regulator to quit in just three years following Professor Theo Boer who stepped down in 2014. The latest case of euthanasia involving a healthy 29- year old Dutch woman (Aurelia) who was granted euthanasia on the grounds of suffering from psychiatric reasons revealed the “slippery slope” pitfall that exist in euthanasia safeguard models. Miss van Baarsen said it was very difficult to assess if patients with dementia were suffering unbearably – one of the criteria that has to be met before an act of euthanasia is legally permissible. Professor Theo Boer also stated in an article that euthanasia in the context of psychiatry raises complex ethical and legal problems. http://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2018/01/23/dutch-euthanasia-regulator-quits-over-dementia-killings/ [back to top]

Netherlands – Where will it end?

Aurelia Brouwers died at home after her request for assisted suicide for “unbearable and hopeless psychological suffering”. She wrote on her blog: “I am Aurelia, 29 years and I have Borderline Personality Disorder, chronic and complex PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders and many more mental issues. I also spend my time fighting for euthanasia for mentally ill patients and euthanasia around the world. This state sanctioned killing of a physically healthy young woman will likely raise more concerns about the expansion of euthanasia in the Netherlands – where a woman with dementia is held down and lethally injected, alcoholics meet the criteria for assisted suicide, and there are plans to introduce it for those who have “completed life.” https://www.spuc.org.uk/news/news-stories/2018/january/29-year-old-mentally-ill-woman-euthanised [back to top]

IVF and Surrogacy

[No news today]

Medical Ethics

Italy – Parliament passes controversial end-of-life bill

After 30 years and 3000 attempts to propose amendments, an end-of-life bill was passed by the Italian Parliament this week which allows patients to end their lives by refusing to eat and drink. It also allows patients to express binding end-of-life care wishes through a text or a video. The new legislation does not permit assisted suicide or euthanasia. However, it is clearly a momentous step in that direction. In November Pope Francis clarified the position of the Catholic Church by stressing that only “ordinary” care need be provided to the dying, not “extraordinary” care that extends life at all costs. Therefore the Catholic position maintains that eating and drinking are ordinary care, as much as hygiene. However, under the new law artificial nutrition and hydration are to be regarded as medical interventions because they are administered through health devices and, consequently, can be rejected or suspended. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/italy-passes-controversial-end-of-life-bill/ [back to top]

USA – Trump administration moves to defend conscience rights

The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights will handle complaints related to participation in controversial medical practices such as abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and gender reassignment. Federal officials said the division will allow HHS to “more vigorously and effectively” enforce laws related to conscience and religious freedom. “Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced”, said Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights. “No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice. In addition, the HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is issuing new guidance to state Medicaid directors restoring state flexibility to decide program standards. A letter rescinded 2016 guidance that specifically restricted states’ ability to take certain actions against family-planning providers that offer abortion services. The announcement was met with mixed reactions. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins praised the new measures, calling it “another moment in which President Trump’s promises are becoming realities.” https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/trump-administration-moves-to-defend-conscience-rights/ [back to top]

UK – Parliament to debate conscientious objection

Northern Ireland peer Baroness Nuala O’Loan has introduced her Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill into the House of Lords. “Reasonable accommodation of conscientious objection is a matter both of liberty and equality: of individual freedom and social inclusion. No one should be coerced by the risk to their careers into violating their conscience, and it is plainly inconsistent with the principles of equality legislation to exclude whole sections of society from areas of medical employment simply because of their moral beliefs. I hope this excites support from across the country that allows us to fix this deficit of legal rights and protections”. A parliamentary inquiry in 2016 found that some doctors and nurses face difficulties due to their conscientious objection to practices that they believe end a human life. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/uk-parliament-to-debate-conscientious-objection/12576 [back to top]

Japan – First compensation claim for compulsory sterilisation

A Japanese woman in her 60s is planning to sue the government over her forced sterilization under a 1948 law. This will be the first time that state compensation has been sought for sterilisation. The mentally disabled woman in Miyagi Prefecture was a teenager when she was forced to undergo the procedure. Like some Western countries, Japan has a dark eugenic past. A 1948 Eugenic Protection Law (EPL) was intended to prevent the births of “inferior descendants” and to foster the health of mothers and pregnant women. It provided for both voluntary and involuntary sterilisation. Doctors could apply for permission for sterilisation to a regional board if a patient suffered from a range of conditions which were believed to be hereditary. According to government statistics, between 1949 and 1994 – 16,520 involuntary sterilizations were performed. Compulsory sterilisation lapsed in 1996 with the passage of the Mother’s Body Protection Law. However, the Japanese government has refused to apologize to the victims or offer them compensation. https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/first-compensation-claim-for-compulsory-sterilisation-in-japan/12578 [back to top]

Pedophilia

UK – Paedophiles on twitter trying to normalise attraction to children

An investigation by the Sun found a disturbing number of accounts on Twitter that openly discuss their sexual attraction to children. They are trying to raise awareness for what they refer to as minor-attracted persons (MAPs) who do not abuse children physically but admit an attraction. They also compare paedophilia to being gay or bisexual because it is a sexual orientation that they claim they did not choose but were born with. The accounts are said to have been shown to the National Crime Agency who requested they do not block any of them so they can continue to monitor the posts. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/paedophiles-twitter-are-trying-reduce-stigma-being-sexually-attracted-children-1651107 [back to top]

Russia – Government clamps down on paedophile offenses

Russia has joined Australia in a bid to protect children from paedophiles. With one accord Russia supported a bill authored by the Deputy Speaker of Russia’s Lower House that proposes life imprisonment for any sexual assault against children under 14 years of age. Covering up such crime is also punishable. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/russia-backs-bill-to-protect-kids-from-paedophiles/1217241 [back to top]

USA – LGBT lingerie shop uses 9 year-old boy as a model

House of Mann is an online shop that sells clothing and lingerie for drag queens and gay men. Brandon Hilton, who runs the shop sparked an outrage when he decided to use a 9 year-old boy to be the ‘cover-girl’ to advertise his range. The public is suspicious of Hilton having paedophilic tendencies for thinking it’s okay to model a child in clothing that invokes sexual desires. Many pro-LGBT websites have praised Brandon and see nothing wrong with this attempt to sexualize children. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lgbt-fetish-underwear-designer-defends-making-9-year-old-drag-queen-its-cov [back to top]

Pornography

USA – Legislation to lock internet for porn unless users pay fee

Some legislators in Virginia claim that online porn leads to human trafficking and the state’s assembly is considering legislation that would lock all pornographic websites on internet devices, unless the user pays a $20 fee. The bill is known as the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act.” Those who request having their devices unlocked must acknowledge “the potential danger of disabling the capability,” the bill states. The $20 fee would then go into a state fund titled the “Human Trafficking Victim Fund.” https://www.abc15.com/news/national/virginia-considering-legislation-to-lock-internet-devices-from-viewing-porn-unless-users-pay-a-fee [back to top]

UK – Is it legal to swap someone’s face into porn without consent?

For several weeks, a sub-reddit thread called “Deepfakes” has been saturated with doctored images that depict famous figures, mostly women, engaging in sexual acts, where their faces are believably mapped onto pornographic pictures, or videos. As Deepfakes become more refined and easier to create, they also highlight the inadequacy of the law to protect would-be victims of this new technology. The best way to get a pornographic face-swapped photo or video taken down is for the victim to claim either defamation or copyright. It’s almost impossible to erase a video once it’s been published to the internet. https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/30/16945494/deepfakes-porn-face-swap-legal [back to top]

UK – Citizens may soon use their passports to access pornography

Porn viewers have been warned that in a few months time they will be required to prove their age to watch x-rated videos, for example by showing their passports or driver’s licenses. The age verification process means that no one under the age of 18 will be able to view porn online. The strict law is coming into place after stats compiled by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), found that more than half of children and teenagers that had watched online adult videos had “stumbled upon it” accidentally. This is just one of many of the UK’s incoming pornography laws. https://www.buzz.ie/news/uk-citizens-soon-use-passport-access-porn-270762 [back to top]

Same Sex Attraction

USA – Teen threatened to commit suicide for being called a boy name

In November 2015 the state of Alberta passed Bill 24 which prohibits teachers from informing parents when their children have joined Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) at school and allows children to impersonate the opposite sex. Instead, this bill shuts parents out of their children’s life and has caused 14 year-old Jane to nearly commit suicide. Jane is happy to be what she was born to be – a girl. But peers insisted on calling her a boy’s name even after she said she was fine with being a girl. This confusion and stress lead to Jane’s parents to take her out of school for the sake of her progress and they are pleading with the state to quit driving a wedge between parents and their children. http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/corbella-couple-warns-their-daughter-may-have-died-under-new-gsa-law [back to top]

Italy – Doctor who was accused for defamation found not guilty

Dr. Silvana De Mari is a specialist in psychotherapy, medicine and surgery and has taken care of homosexual persons for 40 years. Dr. De Mari declared that homosexuality is a health hazard and that sexually transmitted infections are skyrocketing among homosexuals. LGBT activists said Dr. De Mari defamed homosexuals by making these statements and demanded action against her but she was cleared of all accusations on the grounds that it is impossible to determine who would have suffered injury because of her broad statement. Dr. Silvana added “If the American Psychiatric Association can establish that homosexuality isn’t a disorder of nature, they can very well establish that neither is pedophilia.” http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/12/03/italian-doctor-accused-of-defamation-for-saying-homosexuality-is-a-disease-found-not-guilty/ [back to top]

Bermuda – Island seeks to ban same-sex marriage

Bermuda wants to be the first country to re-ban same-sex ‘marriages’ after its House Assembly passed a bill to overrule an earlier court ruling that permitted the practice. A new proposed bill wants to give same-sex couples the same legal benefits heterosexual couples have but there is opposition and the bill has yet to be decided on by the Senate. https://www.salon.com/2017/12/11/bermuda-plans-to-ban-same-sex-marriage-mere-months-after-supreme-court-approval/ [back to top]

USA – Ban on change therapy faces legal challenge

Ordinance 2017-47 is a new law aiming to ban change therapy for anyone seeking help with unwanted homosexual attractions. Liberty Counsel is a non-profit that will be challenging this ban together with Robert Vazzo and David Pickup, both licensed and marriage family therapists (LMFT) and their clients, on the basis that the ban violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional since no person should not have to be forced to struggle with unwanted homosexual desires, if they want to change. Liberty Counsel filed suit in federal court against the city of Tampa, Florida in December last year. https://www.lc.org/newsroom/details/120417-tampa-change-counseling-ban-faces-legal-challenge [back to top]

Sexual Exploitation

Canada – Who are we talking about when we talk about prostitution?

Prostitution is now illegal in Canada and a criminal offence occurs every time sexual services are exchanged for compensation. Canada’s new prostitution laws which came into force in 2014 are consistent with laws now in place in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, France and the Republic of Ireland. In Canada, four new criminal offences target prostitution and the development of economic interests in prostitution. Those who exchange their own sexual services for compensation cannot be prosecuted for their participation in the commission of the new offences.Is prostitution itself harmful and exploitative? Or is sex work a legitimate form of labor that people should be permitted to safely engage in as a matter of personal choice? This is the polarized debate playing out worldwide as countries struggle over how to legislate the commercial exchange of sex. The arguments are largely ideological, but they lead to social discourse and influence what is researched, what problems are identified and what solutions are proposed. Those who support the Nordic model see that activity as harmful and seek to end its practice. In the debate over prostitution and enacting the new prostitution laws Parliament identified prostitution itself as a problem and expressed concerns about the exploitation inherent in it and the risks of violence posed to those who engage in it. Those supporting the legislation expressed the belief that prostitution could not be made safe. Parliament also expressed the view that prostitution causes social harms, including the objectification of the human body and commodification of sexual activity. To protect the human dignity and equality of all Canadians, they enacted laws focused on discouraging the activity of prostitution. They describe the activity of prostitution itself as a form of violence against women and as a cause and consequence of gender inequality. Researcher Meagan Tyler identifies three distinct types of harm to women who engage in prostitution: The increased likelihood of experiencing physical and sexual violence; the psychological harm including post-traumatic stress and dissociation; and the harm associated with the sex of prostitution itself which, she argues, dehumanizes and objectifies women. https://theconversation.com/who-are-we-talking-about-when-we-talk-about-prostitution-and-sex-work-88123 [back to top]

India – Measures for the government to outwit prostitution in India

Prostitution is an illegal act where a woman consents to sexual favors in return for commercial gains. They use themselves for monetary gain without realizing the damage they are doing to themselves. Prostitutes in India usually come from the downtrodden sections of society and when they are offered large sums of money for this commercial trade many of them just give in. Whatever the cause, the whole act is totally demoralizing and strict measures have to be taken by the government to curb this ugly menace from its roots and end it once and for all. Here are some possible measures that the government can do to bring in steps to revolutionize society and remove such practices: Government should work towards bringing in strict enforcements of law to see that no one should dare enter into such activities. Creating awareness about the bad effects of prostitution through effective social media campaigns can lead to a change in thinking and perspective. Creating mass employment opportunities for youth and the unemployed will help people drift away from such immoral acts. Along with employment opportunities, these people can be provided parallel education in the evenings. Banks that are owned by the government can allocate special funds on a temporary basis to help women in this field to fund their children’s education. A woman who is entirely into prostitution finds it difficult to come back to terms with normal living. The government should also provide a few hours of counseling sessions by experts in the field about the ill effects of being in prostitution, what effects it would have on themselves, health vulnerabilities, adverse effects on the family and reputation in society. Government can offer many such remedies by working on their needs and helping them by allocating funds and monetary support systems. They should be made to think about coming out of their ugly worlds, inspired to live life in the mainstream by educating themselves, and leading a life full of dignity. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Life-Style/2018-01-23/7-Suggestive-Measures-To-The-Government-To-Outwit-Prostitution-In-India-/353851 [back to top]

Substance Abuse

USA – Cannabis: Brain alterations may explain feelings of alienation

New research has revealed altered brain activity in young adults with cannabis addiction. The study was carried out by Dr. Peter Manza, Dr. Dardo Tomasi, and Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda. The findings have been published in the journal of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Dr.Manza and his colleagues explain in their paper that heavy cannabis use has been linked with a higher risk of psychosis, depression and schizophrenia, disorder, hyper connectivity and feelings of alienation. The researchers focused on feelings of alienation, that is, the feeling that friends betray you and others reject you or wish to harm you. Their previous research had shown that people who abused cannabis reported very high levels of this feeling. The researchers used functional MRI’s to examine the “resting-state brain function” of the sub cortical brain regions of 441 adults, aged 22 and 35 as laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320657.php [back to top]

USA – Volunteer to Cuddle Drug Addicted Babies

Cuddling really helps babies fighting for their lives in hospitals across the country. These special babies are addicted to drugs and snuggles from some very loving volunteers just might be the ticket to their healing. As drug addiction rates skyrocket across the country, more and more infants are suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).These infants, exposed to opioids and drugs in the womb, require a special amount of care to survive the excruciating withdrawal process. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the incidence of NAS has increased 383 percent in the United States since 2000. A Pennsylvania nurse, Jane Cavanaugh, started a volunteer program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to help, “They need human touch” she said. Maribeth McLaughlin, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, strongly agrees. It seems to be working. According to McLaughlin, babies in withdrawal who are held regularly need less medication and go home sooner, on average, than those who are not. https://www.simplemost.com/volunteer-opportunities-cuddle-addicted-newborn-babies/?utm_campaign=getcrafty&utm_medium=partner&utm_source=facebook&partner=getcraf [back to top] Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>