Of This and That…Here and Abroad
Today we note some facets of the life issue generating news throughout our world.
In South Korea charges of fraud and embezzlement have been brought by the government against the lead investigator Hwang Woo-suk who was trying to establish an international hub for embryonic cell research at Seoul National University. Other reports allege that more human eggs were used than reported and that another top investigator among the group has resigned amid charges that he coerced women to donate their eggs for the team’s research. Currently the university has appointed Heo Dae-seog to head a group focused on gene therapy using adult stem cells.
In England the House of Lords defeated a bill which would have legalized assisted suicide. However, a euthanasia group which runs an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland is looking to spread their operation to other European countries.
In Kansas, attempts by the state attorney general to obtain records from two abortion clinics to prosecute charges of statutory rape where abortions had apparently been performed on underage girls were blocked by a federal judge finding that Kansas law did not require the centers to release the information. What would/should happen under similar circumstances in CT where health professionals and teachers are required under penalty of law to report suspected cases of child abuse? Would CT abortion centers not be required to release such information?
In the US the “right” to abortion became codified by a simple majority decision of a nine member court, the US Supreme Court, in the infamous Roe v Wade decision of January 22, 1973. In western Europe, laws pertaining to abortion generally were not established by the judiciary, but rather by legislative branches created for that purpose and requiring ratification by large numbers of legislators with the input of their constituents. Under those circumstances the right to life of the unborn child was given great weight and the circumstances enabling abortion were strictly limited. They involve life of the mother, not health, and become more stringent as the age of the unborn child increases. Amnesty International is now proposing to lobby the UN to create an international document establishing abortion as a human right worldwide. This strategy is reminiscent of the Supreme Court decision. It is possible that a relatively few delegates (not duly elected representatives of constituencies) from several of the member countries could approve a document which in effect would create a “right” which would affect the lives literally of billions, yes, billions of people. It is an attempt to circumvent the tried and true method of legislative process on an issue of paramount importance.
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Peter Moore, PhD George A. Sprecace, M.D., J.D.