World Congress

for freedom of scientific research

06/27/2016
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday reaffirmed and strengthened constitutional protections for abortion rights, striking down parts of a restrictive Texas law that could have drastically reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state, leaving them only in the largest metropolitan areas. The 5-to-3 decision was the court’s most sweeping statement on abortion since Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, which reaffirmed the constitutional right to abortion established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade. It found that Texas’ restrictions, requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby...
06/25/2016
As one might expect, media coverage of assisted dying (aka assisted suicide or euthanasia or the right to die or dignity in dying) is skewed towards ringing-the-changes rather than steady-as-she-goes. In late May The Economist, an outspoken supporter, argued that the British Medical Association (BMA) should adopt a position of neutrality at its annual meeting. “[A] survey for The Economist last year showed that seven in ten Britons thought doctors should be allowed to help patients end their lives, subject to safeguards,” it contended. However, when a proposal to adopt a...
06/25/2016
A new UK Parliamentary Inquiry into conscientious objection was launched this month, focusing specifically on the participation of healthcare professionals in abortion.  The Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Coscience in Abortion Provision, commissioned by Tory MP and outspoken abortion opponent Fiona Bruce, will consider the scope and import of section 4 of the UK Abortion Act (1967).  The so-called “conscience clause” of the act requires that “no person shall be under any duty, whether by contract or by any statutory or other legal requirement, to participate in any...
06/06/2016
As part of their continuing war on fetal tissue research, House Republicans are now accusing a tissue procurement company and three abortion clinics of violating federal privacy law. In a letter dated Wednesday, Representative Marsha Blackburn, chair of the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, charged that StemExpress and the clinics, two of which are Planned Parenthood affiliates, violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by sharing information on patients receiving abortions. A separate letter accuses StemExpress of using improper consent forms...
05/29/2016
As Daenerys Targaryen in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” the British actress Emilia Clarke battles evil while armed with dragons and an apparent immunity to fire. But as Louisa Clark in “Me before you,” she’s a mere mortal caring for a demonically angry Englishman (Sam Claflin) determined to end his life after being hit by a motorcycle and paralyzed. At which point Lou decides to help him live again. It’s a role Ms. Clarke was determined to play the moment she received the Jojo Moves novel from which Thea Sharrock’s romantic drama, opening on June 3, was adapted. “I was utterly convinced that...
05/18/2016
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada apologized repeatedly to the House of Commons after some jostling on its floor, in which he was accused of manhandling a Conservative member of Parliament and elbowing a female legislator. Mr. Trudeau had grown visibly irritated as the opposition Conservative and New Democratic parties tried to stall a vote to limit debate on the government’s assisted suicide legislation. The Supreme Court of Canada has given Parliament until June 6 to pass a law allowing physician-assisted deaths. Arcane parliamentary tradition means that voting cannot begin...
05/08/2016
New lab techniques have provided the first good look at a crucial but mysterious stage in the development of human embryos, scientists reported Wednesday. The researchers said follow-up research might eventually lead to new treatments for infertility and perhaps new forms of birth control. The work extends the amount of embryonic development that can be observed in a laboratory. In the first week after fertilization, an egg grows into a hollow ball of cells, and scientists have long been able to watch that happen. But then this early embryo, about the size of a grain of salt , ...
04/26/2016
An Oklahoma bill that could revoke the license of any doctor who performs an abortion may soon head to the governor, with opponents saying the measure in unconstitutional and promising a legal battle against the cash-strapped state if it is approved. In the Republican-dominated legislature, the state's House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a Senate bill late on Thursday. Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, has not yet indicated whether she will sign it. The Senate needs to approve minor changes to the bill before it can go to the governor, lawmakers said. Under the bill,...
04/16/2016
Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke has emerged as a strong supporter of legalised euthanasia. In an interview on ABC Radio, he said that some people were dying in terrible pain and should be able to schedule their own deaths. In his judgement, it is an “inarguable case”: “In my judgement, there's no moral or ethical grounds for the absurdity of having a position where a person is in terrible pain and for some quasi-religious or moral reason you're going to make them suffer and suffer and suffer.” For Hawke, a Rhodes Scholar who became the longest-serving Labor PM since...
04/03/2016
What do bioethicists think of Donald Trump? Probably not much. Trump views on bioethical issues are either ill-defined or extreme: He flip-flopped on abortion this week, appearing to change position three times in the space of a day. And after the Brussell’s terrorist attacks he called for a liberisation of US laws on turture of terrorist suspects. Yet there’s perhaps more to the story than these off-the-cuff remarks. Leading US bioethicist and former presidential advisor Johnathan D. Moreno believes Trump implicitly represents a certain attractive moral conservativism; at least, a...

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