LIFEalerts 15 November 2017

Abortion UK – Legal abortion clinic pays staff bonuses to ensure abortions USA – More abortion clinics fail Health requirements USA – Paediatricians laud new ethical non embryonic stem cell vaccine USA – Former Abortion changes her view on abortion Alternative Medicine No news today Euthanasia Australia – Victoria euthanasia bill in the balance as WMA intervenes Belgium – Euthanasia doctors split over psychiatric illness Netherlands – Study casts doubt on effectiveness of euthanasia regulation Belgium – Is euthanasia for psychological suffering changing medicine? Germany – Is there a difference between euthanasia and palliated starvation? IVF& Surrogacy Australia – Calls for commercial surrogacy as children get stranded Medical Ethics Iran – Legal market in kidneys creates a black market too USA – Groundbreaking surgery prevents worst effects of spina bifida USA – New Hippocratic Oath for doctors approved by WMA Pedophilia UK – Sarah’s Law reveals sex-offenders and paedophiles Pornography No news today Same Sex Attraction UK – Former transgender person is concerned for the youth UK – Doctors can help more effectively if they know your sexuality USA – is there a link between homosexuality and paedophilia Sexual Exploitation Bulgaria – Horrific injuries inflicted on a sex slave Substance Abuse Portugal – National survey: Psychoactive drug consumption increases Canada – Smoking cannabis does make people more violent: USA – FDA warns marijuana companies marketing unproven cancer products USA – Teen alcohol/marijuana users get poorer grades, are more aggressive


UK – Legal abortion clinic pays staff bonuses to ensure abortions The Health Service Watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), had staff members at Marie Stopes abortion clinics report on how bonus incentives are given to staff who persuade as many women as they can to abort their babies. There are 70 clinics in the UK and CQC inspectors found evidence of a policy that strongly discourages the presence of parents, partners or friends of the pregnant women because they might persuade them to reconsider an abortion. Inspectors also raised concerns that girls under the age of 16 were aborting without being made fully aware of the risks involved. In December last year CQC highlighted more than 2,600 serious incidents at Marie Stopes’s clinics nationwide. USA – More abortion clinics fail health requirements Reports from the Texas Health Department show from 2011 to 2017 how abortion conglomerate Planned Parenthood has violated health codes by using rusty equipments, curettes with expired sterilization to scrape the mother’s womb to remove baby parts and failing to sterilize and disinfect instruments used from woman to woman. The abortionists also failed to give numbers of nearby hospitals in case the woman experienced complications due to her abortion. Suction machines that rip the baby out of the mother’s womb had rusted parts on it. Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director now turned pro-life is spreading awareness about what goes on in the clinics while also helping abortion workers leave their job. USA – Paediatricians laud new ethical non embryonic stem cell vaccine Glaxo SmithKline (GSK) has developed a new anti-shingles vaccine called Shingrix which is not made of aborted baby cell material. Shingrix is approved by the FDA and studies show it to be 97.2 {01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} effective in people over 50 years old with 95 percent immunity maintained after four years. This shows that Shingrix is superior to Merck’s vaccine made of aborted baby cells. The American College of Paediatricians are urging all manufacturers to seek ethical alternatives to current vaccines produced using aborted baby cells. USA – Former abortion doctor changes her view on abortion Dr. Kathi Aultman a board certified gynaecologist and former abortionist has changed her views. Dr. Aultman testified in favour of banning abortions on babies with a heartbeat, which begins 21 days after conception, to a U.S. Judiciary Committee. She says her patients led her to think differently as she observed women who chose life do amazingly well compared to women who suffered terribly after aborting their babies. Dr. Aultman said a woman cannot remain unscathed after killing her child. If passed, this legislation will make it illegal for doctors to abort babies with beating hearts and no exceptions will be made for rape and incest incidents.

Alternative Medicine

No news today


Australia – Victoria euthanasia bill in the balance as WMA intervenes The expectation among political pundits was that the bill would pass the Upper House with little resistance. Meanwhile, the World Medical Association has strongly urged Victorian Parliamentarians to vote against it, saying that euthanasia violates the basic principles of medical ethics. In a statement the WMA said: “[Legalised euthanasia] will create a situation of direct conflict with physicians’ ethical obligations to patients and will harm the “ethical tone” of the profession…it is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice, and [the WMA] strongly encourages all national medical associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalises it under certain conditions.” Belgium – Euthanasia doctors split over psychiatric illness Dr Wim Distelmans, an oncologist and chair of the country’s euthanasia commission Is alarmed at the policies followed by psychiatrist Lieve Thienpont. In 2015, Thienpont was tracking 100 of her patients who had requested euthanasia between 2007 and 2011. Of those, 48 were granted permission. Distelmans and his colleagues appear to be concerned that Thienpont was filling her psychiatric patients with unrealistic expectations about their requests for euthanasia. “I’m convinced that in Belgium, people have died where there were still treatment options and where there was still a chance for years and even decades of (quality) life,” said Dr Joris Vandenberghe, a psychiatrist at the University of Leuven. Netherlands – Study casts doubt on effectiveness of euthanasia regulation “Strict”, “scrupulous” and “rigid” – these are some of the words that have been used in a new study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study, authored by David Miller and Dr Scott Kim from the NIH’s bioethics department analyses 33 cases from 2012 to 2016 in which the Dutch euthanasia review committees (RTE) deemed that doctors had failed to meet due care criteria. The study found that out of 33 cases reviewed, 22 failed to meet the procedural due care criteria (i.e., due medical care and consulting an independent physician). “These criteria are more clearly operationalised than other criteria”, the authors observe. In six of the cases, the RTE found that the passive assisted suicide doctors had not been thorough enough in applying the “unbearable suffering” criterion. Belgium – Is euthanasia for psychological suffering changing medicine? Forty two psychiatrists, psychologists and academics have published an open letter calling for a national debate on euthanasia and mental illness. The current law is far too vague and flexible: “The law does not indicate the exact criteria for unbearable and psychological suffering. Any complaint about any carelessness in this area will only end in a legal ‘no man’s land’.”More and more, no matter how many criteria there are, it depends simply on how an individual psychiatrist interprets or tests them, aided by the doctor’s own assumptions and the patient’s account of his symptoms.” “Some people are dying unnecessarily. To stand silently on the sidelines is a crime of neglect.” “Since the euthanasia law there has been some kind of madness in our work. After the threat of suicide, for which you must be constantly on guard as a psychiatrist, there is now the threat of euthanasia.” Germany – Is there a difference between euthanasia and palliated starvation? While euthanasia and assisted suicide are currently illegal in most countries, the practice of voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED) is seen by some as an ethically and legally permissible alternative. Yet a new paper published in BMC Medicine argues that VSED is ethically indistinguishable from assisted suicide, and should be subject to the same legal regulations as more salient cases of assistance in dying. Lead author Ralf J. Jox of the Institute for Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine at the University of Munich argues that, “supporting patients who embark on VSED amounts to assistance in suicide, at least in some instances, depending on the kind of support and its relation to the patient’s intention”. The authors of the paper conclude that the same legal prescriptions or regulations that apply to physician assisted suicide should also apply to VSED.


Australia – Calls for commercial surrogacy as children get stranded An Australian couple living in the US has discovered they will not be recognized as the parents of their surrogate born children if they return home. David and Naomi Seddon were married in the US and had two baby girls via a commercial surrogate in California. The girls are US citizens, but will not be recognized as children of the Seddon’s under Australian law. “If we were to not get our visas renewed we can’t stay in US, but the girls can’t [stay in] Australia, because legally we’re not their parents.” Assisted reproductive technology pioneer Gab Kovacs has called for immediate law reform, citing the increasing demand for surrogacy in Australia.

Medical Ethics

Iran – Legal market in kidneys creates a black market too Iran is the only country in the world where people can sell their kidneys legally. Recipients pay US$4,600 to the government which the donor receives after the operation. “Yes, people donate because they need money, but this is a reality all over the world,” said Nasser Simforoosh, a Tehran transplant surgeon. Despite government crackdowns on illegal transplant operations, patients who do not want to wait are willing to pay higher rates. Posters advertise the kidneys of the desperate and indebted. “If I could sell my kidney, I could get out of debt,” Ali Rezaei, a bankrupt 42-year-old said. “I would sell my liver too.” “The price is going to go higher and higher,” said Behrooz Broumand, of the Iranian Society of Organ Transplantation. “Transplant commercialism is a race. As long as there is poverty, they cannot stop it.” USA – Groundbreaking surgery prevents worst effects of spina bifida Many parents choose to terminate their pregnancy when they discover their child has spina bifida but surgeons from Baylor College of Medicine, led gynecologist Dr Michael A. Belfort, are trying to stop some of the worst effects of spina bifida through an early intervention during pregnancy. The new technique involves a temporary removal of the womb that allows doctors better access to the spinal cord of the fetus. Using a “fetoscope” and special surgical tools, doctors drain amniotic fluid from the back of the fetus and seal the skin over the spinal cord to prevent further exposure. The womb is then inserted back into the mother. Results from 28 cases in which the operation has been performed were reported in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. The intervention does not appear to have negative effects on the outcome of the pregnancy, and it vastly decreases the likelihood of mobility problems for the child. Foetuses who receive the surgery are much less likely to need a shunt, though children still often need a catheter to pass urine. USA – New Hippocratic Oath for doctors approved by WMA A modern successor to the Hippocratic Oath for physicians has been approved by the World Medical Association. The “Declaration of Geneva” is to be called, not an “oath”, but a “pledge”. The most striking change is a clause has been inserted into the 2017 version which says, “I will respect the autonomy and dignity of my patient”. WMA President Dr Yoshitake Yokokura said: “The life of physicians today is completely different to what it was in 1948 when the original Declaration of Geneva was adopted. Since then, the Declaration has become a core document of medical ethics and a modern version of the 2,500-year old Hippocratic Oath. We hope that the Declaration approved today will be used by all physicians around the world to strengthen the profession’s determination to maintain the highest standard of health care for patients.” It is interesting to compare the 2017 version with the 1948 version. In many respects they are strikingly different. 1948: I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception. 2017: I will maintain the utmost respect for human life. 1948: Even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity. 2017: I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat. 1948: I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honor and the noble traditions of the medical profession; my colleagues will be my brothers 2017: I will foster the honor and noble traditions of the medical profession


UK – Sarah’s Law reveals sex-offenders and paedophiles Across the UK, paedophiles are required to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register. The child sex offender disclosure scheme, known as Sarah’s Law, allows anyone to ask the police if someone with access to a child has a record for child sexual offences. If the police make a disclosure, parents and carers must keep the information confidential and only use it to keep the child safe. Legal action may be taken if confidentiality is breached. This law was developed in consultation with Sarah Payne, whose 8 year-old daughter, Sarah, was murdered by a convicted paedophile in 2000.


No news today

Same Sex Attraction

UK – Former transgender person is concerned for the youth A young medical student named Kate has explained how she was encouraged to undergo treatment after visiting online forums. She later abandoned the treatment after deciding she was no longer transgender and warns that groups advocating for transgenderism can cause great harm if they persuade parents that their children struggling with their sex is simply born with the wrong body. Professor Richard Weaver from the University of Chicago explained that society is being taken by propaganda where they are told that the best way to deal with gender dysphoric teens is to be supportive of their decisions without examining other angles of the issue. UK – Doctors can help more effectively if they know your sexuality Under new government plans as of 2019, doctors and hospitals will now be able to ask their patients whether they are homosexual or bisexual. This information is important since homosexuals are at higher risk for mental issues but patients will not forced to disclose this information. Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs said a patient’s sexuality has the potential to impact their well-being and health care and that doctors are highly trained to have non-judgemental conversations about a patient’s lifestyle in order to help them. LGBT Campaigners and psychologists welcomed this announcement. USA – Is there a link between homosexuality and paedophilia Actor Kevin Spacey recently came out as homosexual after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him by singer and actor Anthony Rapp. Rapp said it happened in 1986 when he was 14 and Spacey 26 years old at the time. Spacey himself grew up with a physically and sexually abusive father. The LGBT community is split as some say that paedophilic behaviour is a regular occurrence in the community that simply isn’t talked about while others lashed out at Spacey. Therapist David H. Pickup says “Statistically, about 75{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of homosexual males have been sexually abused by older teens or men”. He mentioned the well-known example of LGBT legislator Harvey Milk who preyed on minor teens with emotional problems and drug addictions. Brian Camenker of MassResistance pointed out how British political commentator “Milo Yiannopoulos’ praise of men having sex with boys got him in trouble earlier this year. And Kevin Jennings, Obama’s “safe-schools czar” was also in trouble for giving advice to an underage student to ‘use a condom’ to have sex with an adult male.

Sexual Exploitation

Bulgaria – Horrific injuries inflicted on a sex slave A woman was mutilated by criminals and forced into prostitution after being duped by a man who ‘promised her all his love’. Aid worker Norbert Ceipek has shared images of the woman and her injuries after opening a centre to help victims of human trafficking in Bulgaria. “She got to know a young man who took her to the Netherlands”. When she arrived, she realized that she has to walk the streets with another Bulgarian and two Nigerians. She does not want to but by beating and other compulsive measures she complies and prostitutes herself eight months. As a result she had scars and stitches across her stomach and an injury to her head. According to reports, they beat her so much she could have died.”

Substance Abuse

Portugal – National survey: Increase in psychoactive drug consumption Portugal, the iconic example of drug liberalization that is quoted over and over, had a rough landing with the release of country’s latest drug statistics revealing much of this closely-watched human experiment. According to the 4th National Survey on the Use of Psychoactive Substances in the General Population, Portugal 2016/17, there has been a rise in the prevalence of alcohol and tobacco consumption and of every illicit psychoactive substance (essentially affected by the weight of cannabis use in the population aged 15-74) between 2012 and 2016/17.  The number of people using cannabis has gone up by more than 40 per cent in the years since Portugal made using drugs a ‘health problem rather than a crime’ in 2001. Some 15 years after Portuguese drug law ‘reforms’, almost 15 percent of the country’s young people have used cannabis, according to the figures collected by the Intervention Service for Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD) agency, a level that is up from 12.4 percent. The study also saw an increase from 8.3{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} in 2012, to 10.2{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} in 2016/17, in the prevalence of illegal psychoactive substance use. “These are the trends found for cannabis,” the most popular illegal substance, according to the provisional results of the study. Canada – Smoking cannabis does make people more violent Cannabis users are more likely to commit violent crime pioneering research by five researchers from institutes based in Montreal, Canada has shown. The project is the first to demonstrate that cannabis is not only linked with violent crime but is the cause. They found no evidence that the link is the other way round – i.e. that violent people are more likely to use cannabis. Violent incidents monitored by the study based on the lives of more than 1,100 American psychiatric patients included assaults, attacks with weapons and rapes. There was no support, they added, for theories put forward by campaigners anxious to free the drug from the taint of links with crime. The study comes after a series of American states have decriminalised cannabis – despite it being stronger and more potent than the hash smoked by hippies in the sixties – or made it available for medical use. The team, led by Dr Jules R Dugre, said existing evidence on the links between cannabis and violence was ‘limited’ but their project had ‘clinical and violence risk management implications’. Kathy Gyngell, a fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, welcomed the ‘definitive study’ and called for official action. ‘Government has been seriously negligent,’ she said. More than 20 US states have in recent year’s legalised cannabis for medical purposes. Four states, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington have allowed its recreational use. USA – FDA warns marijuana companies marketing unproven cancer products The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) issued warning letters to four companies illegally selling products online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes. In their statement it said this a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and put patients at risk in using products not proven to be safe or effective.“The deceptive marketing of unproven treatments may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.” The FDA has grown increasingly concerned at the proliferation of products claiming to treat or cure serious diseases like cancer. Cannabidiol (CBD), a component of the marijuana plant that is not FDA approved is marketed in a variety of product types, such as oil drops, capsules, syrups, teas, and topical lotions and creams. “We don’t let company’s market products that deliberately prey on sick people with baseless claims” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “There are a growing number of effective therapies for many cancers. Commissioner Gottlieb added. “We recognize that there’s interest in developing therapies from marijuana and its components, but the safest way for this to occur is through the drug approval process, not through unsubstantiated claims made on a website.” USA – Teen alcohol/marijuana users get poorer grades, are more aggressive Scientists followed marijuana and alcohol use among 6500 teenage students in the USA over a seven year longitudinal study for the RAND Corporation. Youths aged 11 to 17 were required to complete surveys between middle and high school. Researchers found these learners had worse grades and delinquent aggressive behavior. Lead author of the study and behavioral scientist Dr Elizabeth D’Amico said that the study showed alcohol and marijuana use were issues that needed to be tackled early on in life, especially in Asian, black and Hispanic students. To highlight the dangers of cannabis and alcohol use in young adults; users ended up in lower social classes, worked in less skilled jobs and were more aggressive.   Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>