LIFEalerts: 20 April 2018

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

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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

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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/

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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/

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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

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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/

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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