Decriminalize incest, says German gvmt’s ethics council

LifeSite News

Steve Weatherbe

A German advisory council on ethics has told the government it should decriminalize incest between consenting adults. But Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats have wasted no time in rejecting the advice.

On Wednesday the National Ethics Council voted, by a two-to-one margin, to call for the decriminalization of incest. “Criminal law is not the appropriate means to preserve a social taboo,” the council explained in a statement. “The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination is to be weighed more heavily than the abstract idea of protection of the family.” [Full text]

Elderly couple to die together by assisted suicide even though they are not ill

Daily Mail

Simon Caldwell

An elderly husband and wife have announced their plans to die in the world’s first ‘couple’ euthanasia – despite neither of them being terminally ill.

Instead the pair fear loneliness if the other one dies first from natural causes.

Identified only by their first names, Francis, 89, and Anne, 86, they have the support of their three adult children who say they would be unable to care for either parent if they became widowed

The children have even gone so far as to find a practitioner willing to carry out the double killings on the grounds that the couple’s mental anguish constituted the unbearable suffering needed to legally justify euthanasia.

The couple, from Brussels, are receiving regular medical treatment for age-related ailments.

Francis has received treatment for prostate cancer for 20 years and is unable to spend a day without morphine and Anne is partially blind and almost totally deaf.

They always go out shopping together because they are both scared that one day the other will not return home.

They decided that life in a care home was not an option because of their fear they would end up bedridden without the strength to insist on euthanasia. . [Full text]

Victorian Premier and Opposition Leader pledge to allow conscience vote on forcing doctors to participate in abortion

News Release

Australian Christian Lobby

The Victorian Premier and Opposition Leader will allow a conscience vote if a private members’ bill is introduced to restore freedom to doctors to decline to participate in abortion.

Denis Napthine and Daniel Andrews were responding to questions from Christian leaders at the Australian Christian Lobby’s Make it Count forum at Queens’ Hall, Parliament House last night.

Their commitments come following sanctions imposed on Melbourne Doctor Mark Hobart, who declined to assist a couple who wanted their baby girl aborted so they could try again for a boy.

“If a private members’ bill was introduced then we would certainly allow a conscience vote,” Dr. Napthine said.

“My position would be to afford a conscience vote,” Mr Andrews said.

ACL Victorian Director Dan Flynn welcomed the leaders’ commitments to allow a parliamentary vote on whether or not doctors should be forced to participate in abortion by making a referral for an abortion.

“No one should be forced to go against their conscience on an issue which involves the taking of a human life,” Mr Flynn said.

The leaders were asked about a range of issues including domestic violence, freedom of religion, poker machine reform and the ice epidemic.

Asked whether “your Government (would) commission independent research into whether there are features in poker machines that lead to gambling addiction”, Mr Andrews committed to examining “the best research, the best evidence”.

On family violence, Dr. Napthine said: “Men particularly need to stand up”.

Mr. Andrews said family violence was the leading cause of death or disability for women aged 45 and under and was “national disgrace”.

On religious freedom, Mr Flynn expressed disappointment about Labor’s election policy, reiterated last night by Mr Andrews, to amend Equal Opportunity laws to diminish the freedom of faith-based schools to employ staff who share their ethos.

Dr. Napthine was called away from the forum to deal with last night’s terrorism-related shooting of an Islamic extremist just moments before Mr Andrews concluded taking questions.

The pre-election Make it Count event was attended by 150 Christian leaders from a wide cross-section of denominations and churches.

Girl ‘aborted’ to save her mother’s life celebrates 10th birthday

Metro

A ‘miracle’ baby born weighing just 1lb 4oz after doctors tried to abort her has celebrated her tenth birthday.

Natasha Smith’s birth was induced 14 weeks early when her mother developed a life-threatening condition.

Doctors told Norelle Smith the abortion at 26 weeks was necessary or the pregnancy could kill her.

But her daughter was delivered alive – to the astonishment of the medical team at the former Queen Mother’s Hospital in Glasgow. . . [Full text]

Medical students’ attitudes towards conscientious objection: a survey

J Med Ethics 2014;40:609-612 doi:10.1136/medethics-2013-101482

Sven Jakob Nordstrand, Magnus Andreas Nordstrand, Per Nortvedt, Morten Magelssen

Objective: To examine medical students’ views on conscientious objection and controversial medical procedures.

Methods: Questionnaire study among Norwegian 5th and 6th year medical students.

Results: Five hundred and thirty-one of 893 students (59%) responded. Respondents object to a range of procedures not limited to abortion (up to 19%)—notably euthanasia (62%), ritual circumcision for boys (52%), assisted reproduction for same-sex couples (9.7%) and ultrasound in the setting of prenatal diagnosis (5.0%). A small minority (4.9%) would object to referrals for abortion. In the case of abortion, up to 55% would tolerate conscientious refusals, whereas 42% would not. Higher proportions would tolerate refusals for euthanasia (89%) or ritual circumcision for boys (72%).

Discussion: A majority of Norwegian medical students would object to participation in euthanasia or ritual circumcision for boys. However, in most settings, many medical students think doctors should not be able to refuse participation on grounds of conscience. A minority would accept conscientious refusals for procedures they themselves do not object to personally. Most students would not accept conscientious refusals for referrals.

Conclusions: Conscientious objection remains a live issue in the context of several medical procedures not limited to abortion. Although most would want a right to object to participation in euthanasia, tolerance towards conscientious objectors in general was moderate or low. [Full Text]

Dignity and the Ownership and Use of Body Parts

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics / Volume 23 / Issue 04 / October 2014, pp 417-430

Charles Foster

Abstract: Property-based models of the ownership of body parts are common. They are inadequate. They fail to deal satisfactorily with many important problems, and even when they do work, they rely on ideas that have to be derived from deeper, usually unacknowledged principles. This article proposes that the parent principle is always human dignity, and that one will get more satisfactory answers if one interrogates the older, wiser parent instead of the younger, callow offspring. But human dignity has a credibility problem. It is often seen as hopelessly amorphous or incurably theological. These accusations are often just. But a more thorough exegesis exculpates dignity and gives it its proper place at the fountainhead of bioethics. Dignity is objective human thriving. Thriving considerations can and should be applied to dead people as well as live ones. To use dignity properly, the unit of bioethical analysis needs to be the whole transaction rather than (for instance) the doctor-patient relationship. The dignity interests of all the stakeholders are assessed in a sort of utilitarianism. Its use in relation to body part ownership is demonstrated. Article 8(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights endorses and mandates this approach. [Full Text]

Canadian Liberal party leader orders end to freedom of conscience and expression in party

Sean Murphy*

Justin Trudeau, leader of the Canadian Liberal Party, has declared that a purported “right” to abortion and contraception is more important than freedom of conscience and expression.  He has reaffirmed his intention to enforce his views by suppressing freedom of conscience and expression with respect to abortion among Liberal members of parliament; presumably, this will extend to the rest of the federal Liberal Party as well.  When questioned about the effect of his decision on the ‘Catholic vote,’ he asserted that he, himself, is Catholic, and many Catholics were upset when previous Liberal governments decriminalized homosexual conduct and legalized divorce. [CBC News]  In making the statements, Trudeau was reinforcing a policy announced in May and reiterated in June, when his office confirmed that the policy applies to current MPs as well as all future Liberal candidates. “Mr. Trudeau believes that everyone is welcome to their own personal views,” said his office, but must conform to the party line. [The Guardian]  In response, Prince Edward Island Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay, who professes to be “pro-life,” issued a statement saying, “Despite my personal beliefs, I understand that I will have to vote the party position.” [Lifesite News]

Serial murderer and rapist, 50, given right to die under controversial Belgian euthanasia laws

Daily Mail

Peter Allen

A serial murderer and rapist has been given the right to end his life under controversial Belgian euthanasia laws, it has emerged.

Frank Van Den Bleeken, 50, has been behind bars for 30 years and has no hope of release because of his intensely violent urges.

Now judges in Brussels have agreed that Van Den Bleeken can commit suicide with the help of medics.

Jos Vander Velpen, the prisoner’s lawyer, said: ‘Over recent years, he has been seen by several doctors and psychologists and their conclusion is that he is suffering, and suffering unbearably.’ . . . [Full text]

Navy nurse faces expulsion after refusing to force feed Gitmo detainees

RT Question More

A Navy nurse who refused to force feed hunger-striking Guantanamo detainees over the summer, once threatened with court-martial, could now lose his career.

The nurse, a Navy lieutenant who has never been publicly identified, refused to force feed hunger strikers shortly before July 4 at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay prison complex. The decision reportedly followed months of him carrying out the painful procedure.

A Navy commander on Monday said he asked the board to determine whether the nurse should be allowed to stay in the US Navy.

“I can tell you right now that, after reviewing the investigation that was conducted in Guantánamo, I recommended that the officer be required to show cause for retention in the Navy. I chose not to do the court-martial route,” the nurse’s commander, Navy Capt. Maureen Pennington, told the Miami Herald. . . [Full Text]

Murderer in non-capital punishment Belgium granted request to die

 Reuters

Robert-Jan Bartunek

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Belgian murderer and rapist serving a life sentence is to be allowed to have doctors end his life following a ground-breaking ruling under laws in Belgium permitting people to request euthanasia.

Frank Van Den Bleeken had argued that he had no prospect of release since he could not overcome his violent sexual impulses and so he wanted to exercise his right to medically assisted suicide in order to end years of mental anguish. [Full text]