It is a sad, true, and often reprised story; the need for solid organ donations egregiously exceeds the supply. The palpable desperation experienced by those who wait, but also frequently die, has led to a variety of proposals aimed at increasing organ supply. Some of these remedies are just and some are not.
How Much Do We Care When Truth Replaces Fiction? Ethical Conduct and Human Subjects Research in Africa
In early February 2007, Reuters news service reported on a practice that has become much more visible during the past year: using a surrogate mother in India.1 People in various parts of the world who cannot (or, at least potentially, prefer not to) undergo a pregnancy are providing their eggs and sperm to produce embryos that can be transferred into a surrogate mother’s womb in India for the duration of the pregnancy.
Over 400 healthcare providers gathered in Seoul, South Korea, October 10-14, 2006, to take “A Fresh Look at Health” and to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Healthcare Christian Fellowship International (HCFI). The Asia–Pacific Far East Regional HCFI Conference, in which over half the attendees were from abroad, drew people from 32 foreign countries and from as far away as the US, Canada, and South Africa.
Drs. Verhagen and Sauer reported in the March 10, 2005, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) about the Groningen Protocol. This algorithm is used to avoid prosecution in the Netherlands when performing euthanasia on infants. The impetus for this protocol was not that physicians were being actively prosecuted, but that the authors felt that physicians failed to report acts of euthanasia in infants and children for fear of prosecution.
There is a new "Dr. Death" on the international scene. Dr. Philip Nitschke is carrying on the work of Jack Kevorkian, the original "Dr. Death" who is serving a 10 to 25 year prison sentence for his role in killing Thomas Youk, a patient suffering from "Lou Gehrig's Disease." Kevorkian administered a lethal injection to Youk, captured this act of euthanasia on videotape, and sent it to the news program Sixty Minutes, which aired an edited version.
The announcement by the Raelian sect's Clonaid company that they have delivered the first live-born human clone may be true. It may not. It seems unlikely. The best efforts of Michael West's Massachusetts-based Advanced Cell Technology, announced in a blaze of glory over Thanksgiving 2001, amounted to an admission that they could not even clone an embryo and keep it going for more than a few cell-divisions. The Chinese claim to be cloning embryos and harvesting stem-cells from them, though they have yet to prove it.
A recurring theme in the encyclicals of John Paul II has been the necessity that we harness freedom to truth. Speaking from the vantage-point of one who has had intimate acquaintance with political tyranny, John Paul addresses those of us who live in a "free" society by reminding us that the wedding of democratic pluralism and moral relativism constitutes a thinly-veiled totalitarianism.
Some people likely were surprised when they read in the newspaper two weeks ago that euthanasia had just been legalized in the Netherlands. Is it not the case that euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands for decades? The answer to this question is: yes and no! In the strictest sense, the answer is no. But, de facto, the answer is yes, as euthanasia has been tolerated for about twenty years in the Netherlands. Doctors who have acted according to certain standards or rules have not been prosecuted for euthanizing their patients.