“Biologists’ Consensus on ‘When Life Begins'”

Here is a link to a new paper by Steven Andrew Jacobs. The paper defends the view that there is “a large and robust scientific consensus” that a human’s life begins at fertilization.

The author doesn’t take a position on the normative issues. Jacobs states: “This paper does not argue that the finding ‘a fetus is biologically classified as a human at fertilization’ necessitates the position ‘a fetus ought to be considered a person worthy of legal consideration’. The descriptive view does not dictate normative views on whether a fetus has rights, whether a fetus’ possible rights outweigh a woman’s reproductive rights, or whether a fetus deserves legal protection. However, presenting this view to Americans could facilitate such discussion. Resolving the factual dispute on ‘when life begins’ with biologists’ descriptive view could help parties focus on policy discussions related to the important ethical and legal issues of the U.S. abortion debate.”

Peter Saunders on the BMA draft paper on withdrawing food and water

Here is a link to a blog post by Dr. Peter Saunders on a confidential draft paper from the British Medical Association on withdrawing food and water from patients with dementia, stroke and brain injury who are not imminently dying. The draft says that such patients who lack mental capacity but who are not imminently dying “can be starved and dehydrated to death in their supposed ‘best interests’.” Saunders states that “this is actually nothing other than euthanasia by stealth—euthanasia by the back door.”  Saunders also states:  “Once we accept that food and fluids by tube is ‘medical treatment’ rather than basic care and that providing this basic sustenance to someone with a medical condition they would not find ‘acceptable’ is not in their ‘best interests’, then we are inviting professionals to devise a simple scheme whereby the starvation of large numbers of non-dying but expensive and ‘burdensome’ patients can be achieved simply and efficiently, and largely undetected, without involving the courts” .

New report on severely brain damaged patients

Here is a link to post by Dr. Peter Saunders discussing a new report from the American Academy of Neurology on brain damaged patients. The title of the post conveys the basic message–“Severely brain-damaged patients are commonly misdiagnosed, often aware and may well recover, says authoritative new report.”

Argentina Defeats Bill to Legalize Abortion

Here and here are links to stories about the good news that the Argentina Senate voted against legalization of abortion.

The AMA and physician-assisted suicide

Here is a link to a good piece by Alex Schadenberg on the current debate within the AMA about physician-assisted suicide. He discusses a powerful op-ed by Dr. Thomas E. Sullivan who strongly supports retention of the AMA policy against physician-assisted suicide.

commentary on recent polls on abortion

There has been a lot of news coverage of late on polls that purport to show that most Americans support Roe v. Wade. Here and here are links to two pieces analyzing the polls. In reality, the polls indicate that most Americans do not support Roe v. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion on demand.