CW long post (original content)
Euthanasia is promoted under the disguise of neutrality
Last week, a spokeperson for Fianna Fáil told the Medical Independent that they would not oppose the referral of assisted suicide to a Citizens’ Assembly for further discussion. Delegating the debate to an unelected body means that neither Fianna Fáil, nor any other major party, is not actively opposing the introduction of legislation that could legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide. (1)
In 2017 the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality considered possible recommendations on legislating in favour of euthanasia andassisted suicide. They heard from a number of experts, and the strongest opposition to the introduction of new liberalising laws came from the representatives of the medical profession and of disability advocacy groups. (2)
Des O’Neill, professor of medical gerontology at Trinity College Dublin, said “We have to send out a message to people of disability of whatever age that our impulse is to care, to cure sometimes, to relieve often and comfort always.” (3)
Dr Regina McQuillan of the Irish Association of Palliative Care said: “Suicide is rightly considered a blight on society and there are many efforts made to reduce it. That there are some people for whom suicide is considered appropriate may suggest that there are people whose lives are not deserving of the same level of protection.” (4)
At the end of the hearings, the Committee did not achieve a clear consensus. Accordingly, they did not recommend legislative change. Instead, they urged the Houses of the Oireachtas “to consider referring the issue to the Citizens’ Assembly for deliberation”. (5)
But why should a non-representative body, with no specific expertise, discuss and recommend vicariously, when there was no majority in the Oireachtas Committee in support of the change?
Political parties cannot stay neutral and delegate to others such a critical debate. Even small changes must be opposed or they will have catastrophic effects.
We can learn from the experience of other countries that the legislation on these issues is usually introduced on some limited ground (for terminally ill patients, for instance) but, with time, it becomes more and more liberal. Once the general principle that doctors should not participate in procuring death is eroded, it is difficult to change the trend and go back.
Psychiatrist Mark Komrad has said, “Several governments, in the last two decades, have invited and permitted physicians to transgress the prohibition against killing their patients. … Originally, the class who can be voluntarily killed or helped to suicide was limited to those at the very end of life. However, principles of justice have made it very difficult to limit such procedures to that category of people. The more experience a country has with such practices, the more the horizon of eligibility has expanded far beyond extreme end-stage cases. … The so-called “choice“ that is offered to the suffering to end their lives is a pseudo-choice, filtered through a physician’s own values, and commonly forced, by having very limited choices in other domains — economics, social support, healthcare, etc. It is unjust, and therefore impossible, in a democratic society, to limit these procedures to some — like the terminally ill — but refuse it to others — like those with chronic physical and psychiatric disabilities. Yet, it signals that chronic disability and its sufferings might constitute a “life not worth living.” (6)
The pressure on doctors to support and participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide is growing everywhere.
In October 2018, at the General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA), representatives from Canada and the Netherlands attempted to change the WMA code of ethics, which has always condemned the participation of physicians in procuring death through direct euthanasia or providing drugs for suicide. (7)
During the debate, all sort of euthanasic practices were rejected and eventually the proposal has been withdrawn, reiterating the WMA’s long-standing opposition to procuring death.
This debate, though, continues on national level.
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP), in the UK, has recently dropped its opposition to assisted dying in a surreptitious manner that has attracted strong criticism. They are now neutral on the issue and will not officially engage in public discussions but how they have arrived at this position appears to be despicable. (8)
In 2014, 57.6% of the RCP membership opposed a change in the law that would legalise assisted suicide. In January this year, after announcing the third poll on this topic among its members since 2006, it was decreed that a 60% majority was needed to stop changing the RCP position to non-opposition. This means that even if 59,9% were against the change, it would have occurred nonetheless. Such a majority was even more difficult to achieve as three options were given (yes, no or neutral), while the previous vote was binary (yes or no).
A group of members of the RCP have challenged them in court, arguing that “the use of a ‘super-majority’ vote on such issues is without precedent in professional organisations in the UK. They have said that it appears to be a tactical move to give a strong boost to the campaign to change the law on assisted suicide. The largest euthanasia lobby group in the UK has previously identified the opposition of medical bodies as a key obstacle to changing to law. Two well-known patrons of this organisation, and active campaigners for legalising euthanasia, are on the RCP Council – the internal body driving the RCP poll.” (9)
In spite of the robust protestation, the poll was carried out in February and found that 43.4 pc were opposed adopting a pro-assisted suicide policy, 31.6 pc were in favour and 25 pc were neutral. This means that even though the majority of the voters were against, the Royal College of Physicians will now be neutral on the matter.
In this case, as with the Joint Committee referral to the Citizens’ Assembly, we see that even when there is no clear majority in support for a significant change, certain issues are considered so important by a minority that they have to be promoted, under the disguise of neutrality, until they are accepted.
CW long post (original content)
The Paradox of Altruistic Gamete Donation and Surrogacy
The various forms of artificial human reproduction are, all of them, problematic; not least because they present all sorts of complex moral and legal issues. And this blog touches on such issues but, before going into the complexity, let us first have a little simplicity.
Let us, therefore, consider what appears to many to be the least problematic forms of artificial human reproduction: altruistic gamete donation and altruistic surrogacy. They are called ‘altruistic’ because they are the freely given gifts of women who seek no profit; women who simply want to do good, and who are under no pressure to do so.
Such an altruistic woman is Anne, a healthy young woman who donates eggs so that an infertile couple can have children. Let's suppose that no monetary exchange is involved, not even in the form of compensation for expenses, which is still a subtle form of exchange. Anne, remember, expects nothing in return from the couple. This is altruism, not commerce. Some people would find her action morally acceptable, even laudable; and they would see no good reason why it should not be considered perfectly legal.
Another such altruistic woman is Marie. Like Anne, Marie is a healthy young woman and absolutely altruistic. Anne acts as a surrogate mother for a couple because the woman who wants to become a mother cannot carry a pregnancy. Again, let's suppose that no monetary exchange is involved, not even in the form of compensation for expenses. Marie allows the use of her womb for mere altruism and expects nothing in return from the couple. Some people would find her action, too, to be morally acceptable; even laudable. This, too, they believe, should be perfectly legal.
Certainly, appropriate forms of regulation would be necessary in the cases of both, Anne and Marie, to anticipate and avoid possible conflicts that just might arise between the parties involved. But, in general, there are not many people who would find the actions of either Anne or Marie to be, in any way, dreadfully, seriously, problematic.
Now, let us imagine another healthy, young, and exceptionally altruistic woman, whom we shall call, for obvious reasons, Annemarie. Annemarie, in this imaginary case, both donates her eggs to, and, acts as a surrogate mother for, a particular infertile couple, the woman of which cannot carry a pregnancy. Annemarie does the same, and is the same, as Anne and Marie. The same: but, different.
Yes, here is the paradox: while some people would approve of the actions of Anne, and of Marie, the actions of Annemarie seem to them to be very different. Because very few people would consider the practice of conceiving and gestating a child with the deliberate intention to give the child away to a commissioning couple, even for purely altruistic reasons, to be either morally or legally acceptable. So, with Anne and Marie: not problematic. Yet, with Annemarie: so problematic.
What is so wrong in the case of Annemarie that is not seemingly wrong in the cases of Anne or Marie? If two actions are individually good, why are they not good when combined together?
The paradox obviously does not arise for those who do not consider gamete donation – that is the donation of either eggs or sperm - or surrogacy, (or both,) to be in any way acceptable. For others, the paradox is there.
Ova are donated with a view to generating children; and if a surrogate mother is needed to complete the process why shouldn’t she be the very same woman who donates the eggs?
Similarly, if an altruistic surrogate mother is doing something good, isn’t she doing something even better if she is also the altruistic donor? Would it be different if Annemarie donates her ova to one couple and acts as a surrogate for a different couple?
We can easily imagine all sorts of permutations and combinations of roles, genders, relationships, number of people involved, etc., between the process of gamete donation and surrogacy. We can easily imagine just how complex and problematic the whole business can become.
In the reality of the world out there, cases are usually much more complicated that those presented here in such a simplified way. But, even as we discuss clear cut simplified cases, sooner or later some contradiction appears; and it points to something seriously wrong with splitting up the normal, and naturally composite, action of becoming the mother and the father of a child.
Those who would defend altruistic gamete donation and surrogacy should, if they are being logical, also defend the practice of generating children with the purpose of donating them to couples. For that is the logic of it all. Somehow, we feel that there is more to this than cold logic; this does not feel right and proper.
And those who have no problems with some form of compensation (be it a fee, or expenses, or whatever) for gamete donation and surrogacy, should have no problem with turning the bringing of a child into this world into a commercial business.
We demand to know: Since when has treating children as commodities to be given is progress?
Government should be fair to all child-care choices
The recent outcry about the poor treatment of children at a number of creches focused public attention once again on the issue of daycare. But the debate centred almost entirely on the need to better resource the sector and to regulate it more. But as Maria Steen argued in The Irish Times on Saturday, the […] https://ionainstitute.ie/government-should-be-fair-to-all-child-care-choices/
Even before birth biological males have genetic physical advantages over females.
#GospelToday (Mt 19:29-30)
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
I don't even think 'altruistic surrogacy' is a good idea. Women are so socialized to be pleasing it's disgusting. Media stories about what a wonderful gift so and so woman gave to her gay brother etc etc. So easy for that to spill into crazy pressure. Women will feel obligated so as not to appear selfish.
It's illegal to kill and eat someone, even if they have consented in writing/ by video. It's illegal to sell your organs. It's illegal to take organs from the dead if they're not a donor.
It should be flat out illegal to rent, hire, or sell any part of your body, full stop.
New issue of Position Papers: August/September 2019
You can read more here: August/September 2019 http://familysolidarity.org/new-issue-of-position-papers-august-september-2019/
Love In An Age Of Information Overload
When it comes to information, humanity has been playing a vast game of Tetris for thousands of years. New blocks of information are constantly being formed as we acquire new knowledge. As we encounter them, our objective is to rotate and place these informational blocks into our experience. This was easier for our ancestors. The […] http://familysolidarity.org/love-in-an-age-of-information-overload/
#GospelToday (Lk 12:49-53)
"I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
Just some info
Who I follow in the fediverse is **not** a reflection of who's ideas I agree with. I generally follow people who make educated, rational, statements and can engage people with a difference of opinion maturely.
Most of the people I follow are people who think very differently than me and I enjoy the mutually respectful discussions that ensue.
#HongKong should make everyone realise how important Freedom is worth fighting for.
Look at the Hong Kong Youth, knowing they could be jailed for 10 years for so called "rioting", knowing that the PRC millitary could invade with/without the request of the HK government and slaughter them all.
That is why we shouldn't give up on basic rights just as Privacy, Freedom of Speech etc. because it is what matters the most.
Quint Buchholz was born in Stolberg near Aachen and grew up in Stuttgart. He studied history of art for four terms, followed by painting and graphic design at the Munich Academy of Art under Prof. Gerd Winner. https://wilwheaton.tumblr.com/post/187008099049/quint-buchholz-was-born-in-stolberg-near-aachen /2
This server is in addition to several other servers we brought up in recent weeks, all are open to users of QOTO:
Gitlab (allows to host private domains as well as several free CI runners): https://git.qoto.org
And of course there is QOTO mastodon at https://qoto.org
Later next week we will probably get FunkWhale server up and PixelFed. We will continue to be a home for Federated and Distributed social technologies that enable STEM projects to collaborate and publish their results.
Obfuscate Tracking Data Facebook Places in Photos with this Online Tool
Accessing abortion may become easier than accessing contraception
By David Mullins If proposals contained in a submission to the Department of Health by the Irish Pharmacy Union are accepted; then access to an abortion will soon become more readily available than access to contraception. As things currently stand, any person aged 16 or over may access an abortion without parental consent. Those below […] https://ionainstitute.ie/accessing-abortion-may-become-easier-than-accessing-contraception/
We recently added a new service to the QOTO family of services. We now host a Discourse server are https://discourse.qoto.org
It is currently empty but will act as a space for discussion around open-source STEM projects or general STEM discussion. It will also act as a mailing list for any project managers who wish to use the service for their projects.
IT compliments our other services well including a GitLab instance open to the general public for open-source STEM projects as well as for our users to host private or personal websites.
We also have a NextCloud server open to the public for open-source STEM projects and individuals to utilize as well.
In the next few weeks we will continue to bring up new services including PeerTube, Pixelfed, FunkWhale, and many more on their way.
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Triptych of Adriaan Reins (detail)