Cook, Michael
671 Articles at

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Currently showing only those Articles posted in: 2016

New! Can we trust 'breakthrough' science?

Ethical reasoning which relies on empirical studies will often be flawed.

Date posted: 2016-10-15

New! Controversy swirls around AIDS drug in UK

When a conservative Christian journalist writes a story about a highly-praised AIDS drug headlined "Killing Grandma for Gay sex" and an AIDS activist describes it as a "profit-driven sex toy for rich Westerners", you know that you've uncovered an ethical controversy.

Date posted: 2016-10-15

New Australian book on marriage hits censorship roadblock

Why are gay marriage supporters afraid to debate?

Date posted: 2016-09-27

Is there really no difference between straight and gay parenting?

Much of the jousting over same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting and transgender issues takes place in a fact-free arena. Fortunately, there has been a pushback from academics dismayed by the lack of academic rigour. The consensus is flawed by small-scale studies, badly framed questions and poorly understood data.

Date posted: 2016-09-21

The new religion of transgenderism in Australian schools

Australia's Safe Schools program is so bizarre and fact-free that you can describe it as a cult, says an academic.

Date posted: 2016-09-21

First child euthanised in Belgium

A terminally ill youngster been euthanised in Belgium - the first since Parliament lifted all age restrictions in 2014. The head of the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, Dr Wim Distelmans, confirmed that the case had been reported by a local doctor last week.

Date posted: 2016-09-21

Swedish medicine in turmoil over stem cell researcher

On yet another front, Obamacare has been challenged on ethical grounds, this time for allegedly forcing doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children.

Date posted: 2016-09-21

Has Obamacare created a "transgender mandate"

On yet another front, Obamacare has been challenged on ethical grounds, this time for allegedly forcing doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children.

Date posted: 2016-09-21

Are abortions for cleft palate rising in the UK?

Abortions for cleft palate, an easily-fixed facial deformity, have been rising in the United Kingdom, according to the latest official figures. In 2015, 11 were carried out. The comparable figure in 2012 was 4.

Date posted: 2016-09-21

What's in the IVF Petri dish?

With as many as one in 25 children being born through IVF in some countries, you would think that doctors understand the health risks perfectly. Not so.

Date posted: 2016-09-11

Is IVF changing the course of human evolution?

Evolution is caused by the differential reproduction of individuals with certain features. So surely IVF, which enables people to reproduce who are unable to do so naturally, must be having an effect upon human evolution.

Date posted: 2016-09-11

Kids with Trisomy 13 and 18 can have good quality of life

Should babies with Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18 be given life-sustaining treatment? Both conditions are associated with severe physical and intellectual disabilities and most die children in their first year. So until recently, few of them were treated. Doctors regarded the conditions as "lethal congenital anomalies".

Date posted: 2016-09-11

Marie Stopes abortion services suspended in UK

Government regulators have closed some services of a leading abortion provider in the United Kingdom, citing vague concerns about "corporate and clinical governance arrangements and patient safety protocols in specific areas".

Date posted: 2016-09-11

India may ban all commercial surrogacy

The Indian government plans to impose a complete ban on commercial surrogacy and to permit it only for legally married Indian couples. Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 would ban unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexuals from engaging surrogate mothers. Nothing but altruistic surrogacy would be permitted.

Date posted: 2016-09-11

Let's have a SCIENCE-based debate about LGBT issues

A landmark report from the US questions cliched views of homosexuality and transgenderism

Date posted: 2016-08-28

The pain of Indian surrogate mothers

It's only anecdotal evidence, but a BBC story from the Indian city of Chennai shows that surrogate mothers feel emotionally traumatized by the wrench of surrendering a child whom they have carried for nine months. The money they earn does not compensate them for this pain. There are a dozen or more clinics in Chennai which broker surrogate babies, employing about 150 surrogate mothers.

Date posted: 2016-08-28

Is unbearable pain still a reason for euthanasia?

"Growing old isn't so bad when you consider the alternative," used to be a joke. But for supporters of legalised euthanasia, the alternative looks better than growing old. Some recent research shows that there is some confusion about the aims of the movement.

Date posted: 2016-08-19

Is transhumanism really the world's most dangerous idea?

Step by step, our lives are being absorbed by technology.

Date posted: 2016-07-25

Who's telling the truth about China's bioethics?

"What we're trying to do is get the government, the party state in Beijing, to stop killing their own people for their organs," David Kilgour, a human-rights activist and former Canadian MP, told the Toronto Globe and Mail. "An industrial-scale crime against humanity is going on in China."

Date posted: 2016-07-17

British doctors reject neutrality on assisted dying

When a proposal to adopt a neutral stance failed by a huge margin, 63% to 37%, on June 21, it was only reported by a few Christian and pro-life blogs.

Date posted: 2016-07-11

Chinese clinics advertise for sperm donors

Another Chinese scientist is stretching medical ethics to the breaking point. According to the New York Times, Dr. Ren Xiaoping of Harbin Medical University, is planning to do a body transplant. Several patients have already volunteered for the daring experiment, which involves attaching the head of a live person to the body of a cadaver.

Date posted: 2016-06-26

Chinese surgeon is planning a body transplant

Another Chinese scientist is stretching medical ethics to the breaking point. According to the New York Times, Dr. Ren Xiaoping of Harbin Medical University, is planning to do a body transplant. Several patients have already volunteered for the daring experiment, which involves attaching the head of a live person to the body of a cadaver

Date posted: 2016-06-26

When will transgender women deliver babies?

If we welcome transgender women, are transgender mothers a big deal? Although surgeons are still mastering the technique of transplanting wombs, patients are already asking when this will become possible.

Date posted: 2016-06-26

Will Belgium grant euthanasia for unwanted sexual attraction?

Along with unbearable physical pain, mental suffering, and dementia, a new reason for seeking euthanasia in Belgium has emerged in the media: paedophilia.

Date posted: 2016-06-25

Let's increase organ transplant rates by encouraging euthanasia patients to donate, say doctors

The doctors are so enthusiastic about the procedure that they have proposed legal changes which will speed up the procedure and maximize the number of donations.

Date posted: 2016-06-25

A woman's right to choose surrogacy

A Ukrainian clinic uses feminist rhetoric to sell its services.

Date posted: 2016-06-07

Indonesia legalises chemical castration for sex offenders

Chemical castration will be a sentencing option for judge in Indonesia. President Joko Widodo has signed a decree authorizing this penalty for convicted child sex offenders. Those who have been released on parole must wear electronic monitoring devices.

Date posted: 2016-06-07

Landmark UK decision broadens scope of surrogacy

In a landmark decision, the High Court in the UK has ruled that it is discriminatory to prevent single men or women from becoming the parents of babies born to surrogate mothers. The government will probably have to update its legislation to make it compatible with the ruling.

Date posted: 2016-06-07

Scientists discuss synthetic human genome behind closed doors

According to an exclusive report in the New York Times, 150 scientists, lawyers and entrepreneurs gathered behind closed doors at Harvard earlier this month to discuss creating a synthetic human genome.

Date posted: 2016-06-06

Washington Post features symposium on transhumanism

As a sign of growing interest in transhumanism, the Washington Post recently featured a symposium with several distinguished writers. It may indicate a growing interest in its aspirations, in an election year when a transhumanist, Zoltan Istvan, is seriously running for President.

Date posted: 2016-06-06

IVF expert complains about unjustifiable use of ICSI around the world

The editor-in-chief of one of the world's leading reproductive medicine journals has attacked the rising use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) for the treatment of infertility, following publication of the latest world report on assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

Date posted: 2016-06-05

A gorilla grabs your kid: should you shoot?

That bioethicists regard the lives of animals as more important than infants or disabled humans is a common complaint amongst their critics. The death of a silverback gorilla in the Cincinnati Zoo serves as a test of this hypothesis.

Date posted: 2016-06-05

A British Muslim pushes for polygamy after same-sex marriage

Although polygamy is permitted under sharia law, most Muslim men do not have two, three or four wives. In fact, according to "The Salafi Feminist", a Canadian blogger, average Muslims view second wives "as little more than secret mistresses, home-wreckers, and simply selfish".

Date posted: 2016-05-30

The wrong lesson from Hiroshima

It's not weakness to regard dropping atom bombs on two Japanese cities as immoral.

Date posted: 2016-05-15

Chinese policy on organ transplants is just smoke and mirrors, say critics

The issue of harvesting organs from political prisoners in China to supply the country's more than 160 transplant centres is not just controversial, but explosive.

Date posted: 2016-05-15

Dutch euthanasia cases up by 4%

The number of euthanasia cases in the Netherlands continues to rise steadily. According to the latest statistics released by the government, in 2015 there were 147,010 deaths in the country. Of these 5,516 were reported to be euthanasia or assisted suicide (only 208 cases). This is rise of 4% over the figures for 2014.

Date posted: 2016-05-15

Australian govt report backs ban on domestic commercial surrogacy

A government report has backed calls for an international treaty on surrogacy and for uniform legislation within Australia banning commercial surrogacy.

Date posted: 2016-05-15

Dutch paediatricians seek child euthanasia

The Dutch Health Minister, Edith Schippers, has earmarked almost 400,000 Euros for a study of whether to expand eligibility for euthanasia to children between 1 and 12. At the moment, children under 1 may be killed with the consent of their parents following criteria set out in the Groningen Protocols. Children older than 12 are already eligible.

Date posted: 2016-05-15

Indigenous Canadians fear impending euthanasia law

As southern Canada prepares to roll out euthanasia after last year's Supreme Court decision, the Dene, an aboriginal group of First Nation people, are awaiting it with fear.

Date posted: 2016-05-13

Donor anonymity is dead

Guaranteeing the anonymity of sperm and egg donors is a controversial topic. On the one hand children may want to connect with their biological parents; on the other, the parents may have agreed to donate only because the transaction was anonymous.

Date posted: 2016-05-05

Horrific abuse case raises questions over international surrogacy

An Australian case of sexual exploitation of infants has raised questions about international surrogacy. An unnamed 49-year-old man in rural Victoria has pleaded guilty to abusing not only two young nieces, but twins whom he fathered with the help of a donated egg from a woman in Ukraine at an IVF clinic in Asia.

Date posted: 2016-05-05

'Genetic sexual attraction' could become issue for kids of sperm donors

The British press is a fathomless mine of lurid but thought-provoking, strange-but-true explorations of the dark side of the human condition. Last week's revelation was published in a magazine called The New Day -- a passionate incestuous romance between a 51-year-old British woman and her 32-year-old American son.

Date posted: 2016-04-21

Chinese scientists modify human embryos in second experiment

A year after the first genetically-engineered human embryos were created in China, a different Chinese team has repeated the experiment, with much the same results: failure.

Date posted: 2016-04-21

Gendercide becomes an issue in Canada

The researchers believe that over the past 20 years, there are 4,472 "missing" girls in Canada as a result of a preference for males amongst Indian immigrants. This happens mostly when both parents were born in India.

Date posted: 2016-04-21

The tangled knot of the last taboo

The British press is a fathomless mine of lurid but thought-provoking, strange-but-true explorations of the dark side of the human condition.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

Testing anti-paedophilia drugs

How do you run an ethical randomised trial to stop paedophilia? This is the question that hovers over research into drugs which are intended to stop unwanted sexual impulses.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

Ban on embryo research survives challenge in Italy

Italy's Constitutional Court has reaffirmed the legitimacy of a ban on human embryo research. In a decision late last month the Court declared that Article 13 of Law 40, a 2004 law on assisted reproduction, was constitutional.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

Wrap yourself in a rainbow and carry a big stick

The Dominican Republic is the latest victim of LGBT bullying by the US government.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

The battle over bathrooms

Urinals as a political flashpoint? The last time urinals created so much controversy in the United States was in 1917 when the Surrealist artist Marcel Duchamp submitted a porcelain urinal to a New York art show. And in truth, there is something surrealistic about the debate surrounding North Carolina's new law on who can enter public bathrooms.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

LGBT rift over surrogacy?

It's not just bio-conservatives who are troubled and puzzled by the growth of surrogate motherhood. Writing in the Huffington Post, Keston Ott-Dahl, the lesbian co-mother of a Down syndrome daughter, confesses that there is conflict in the LGBT community as well.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

The Netherlands is normalising euthanasia, says Dutch ethicist

A former member of a euthanasia review board in the Netherlands has written a stinging attack on the policy he once formed part of.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

Doing the right thing by transgender kids is not easy

A US$5.7 million study of the long-term outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth begins recruiting in May. But knotty ethical questions remain unanswered.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

That euthanasia stuff... does anyone remember what we decided?

Dr Fonck, a renal physician who was a minister in the government of Elio di Rupo, queried Health Minister Maggie De Block about why the full text of the country's euthanasia law has never been published.

Date posted: 2016-04-14

Everybody's a winner when euthanasia combines with organ donation, say doctors

Several Dutch and Belgian doctors have proposed legal reforms to increase the popularity of combining euthanasia and organ donation in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Date posted: 2016-04-12

UK health service may harvest organs from babies with lethal defects

The UK's National Health Service is to encourage pregnant women whose children have a fatal birth defect to bring them to term so that their organs can be harvested.

Date posted: 2016-03-20

Controversial report to support legalisation of surrogacy in Europe

With a range of inconsistent statutes amongst member states, surrogacy is becoming a political football in Europe. Accusations of conflict of interest are being raised in the lead-up to a debate next week in a committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Date posted: 2016-03-20

Nurse ignites debate over euthanasia in Portugal

The head of Portugal's national nurses' association has blown the whistle on covert euthanasia in public hospitals. Ana Rita Cavaco told a radio program that she personally had heard doctors discussing the topic.

Date posted: 2016-03-18

Harvard's dark past as the "brain trust" of American eugenics

Harvard University is the richest, most famous and oldest university in the US - and it won the Harvard-Yale game last year 38-19. But one distinction which it would rather forget is that it was the "brain trust" of American eugenics.

Date posted: 2016-03-17

Is pornography a public health crisis?

The evidence is piling up. According to a report in The Economist, there are possibly 700 to 800 million individual porn pages, 60 percent of them in the US. A portal for pornography, PornHub, claims that it had nearly 80 billion video viewings in 2014 and more than 18 billion visits. It's obvious that we live in a pornography-saturated culture.

Date posted: 2016-03-03

Celebrating 15 years of Dutch euthanasia

Beginning today, the Dutch right-to-die association NVVE is celebrating Euthanasia Week with a selection of documentary films and youth outreach.

Date posted: 2016-02-28

A peek behind Belgium's euthanasia curtain

Another euthanasia scandal in Belgium. Two sisters have complained on a television program, Terzake, about the euthanasia of their sister. Tine Nys was 38 at the time and had broken up with her live-in boyfriend. On Christmas Eve 2009 she announced that she was going to be euthanased.

Date posted: 2016-02-28

Another euthanasia scandal in Belgium

Another euthanasia scandal in Belgium. Two sisters have complained on a television program, Terzake, about the euthanasia of their sister in April 2010.

Date posted: 2016-02-28

The wrong solution to Zika-caused microcephaly

Activists are trying to spook governments into allowing abortion. Don't do it, says a woman with the condition.

Date posted: 2016-02-06

The dark past of anonymous sperm donation

Few of the essentials have changed since the first recorded case in 1884.

Date posted: 2016-02-05

The dark past of progressive eugenics

The dark history of government-sponsored eugenics before World War II has largely been forgotten, although it is well documented.

Date posted: 2016-02-05

First euthanasia case in Quebec

At least one person and perhaps three have been euthanased in Quebec since the Canadian province's legislation went into effect in December.

Date posted: 2016-02-05

Half million at risk of female genital mutilation in US, says report

US government statistics show that more than half a million girls and women are at risk of female genital mutilation or its consequences in the United States. This figure has tripled over the last 25 years as a result of increased migration from countries where FGM is common.

Date posted: 2016-02-05

JAMA debates assisted suicide

The latest issue of JAMA showcases the views of leading American doctors and lawyers on physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The theme is captured by the headline above one of the articles: "Physician-Assisted Dying: Turning Point?"

Date posted: 2016-02-05

Upsetting the balance of nature

A British report on the irrelevance of "naturalness" could have far-reaching consequences.

Date posted: 2016-02-05

UK on verge of editing genome of human embryos

Scientists in the UK could begin genetically engineering human embryos as early as March, if the fertility regulator approves plans by researchers at the new Francis Crick Institute in London.

Date posted: 2016-01-31

Defending Catholic views on contraception

Although, with more than a billion members, the Catholic Church has immense influence on bioethical practice, its positions are rejected by many bioethical theorists. None is more disputed, even ridiculed, than its condemnation of contraception. However, this stand does have thoughtful defenders.

Date posted: 2016-01-31

Making eugenics fun in Belgium

Waffles, beer, chocolate and euthanasia: Belgium is famous for all of them. Will do-it-yourself eugenics be added to the list?

Date posted: 2016-01-30

ISIS has authorised forced organ removals of 'apostates'

Persistent rumours about organ trafficking by the Islamic State have some basis in fact.

Date posted: 2016-01-18

Demented patients can be euthanized in Netherlands

The Netherlands health ministry has revised its guidelines to allow severely demented patients to be euthanized. However, an advance directive which was made when the patient was lucid is required.

Date posted: 2016-01-18

Gay Israeli couple brings home wrong baby from Nepal

A stark reminder of the hazards of IVF and surrogacy.

Date posted: 2016-01-18

Hammering out the details in Canada's new euthanasia regime

Last February Canada's Supreme Court declared that denying patients access to assisted suicide and euthanasia is a violation of their human rights. The federal, provincial and territory governments were given a year - until February 6, 2016 - to enact legislation consistent with its decision.

Date posted: 2016-01-13

The mechanic who transitioned to a 6-year-old girl

Human interest stories are like earthquakes. Readers love earthquakes, but they get bored with the small ones that flatten a single city. Editors need devastated provinces and tsunamis up to wind up their interest. So the lives of transgender people are the gift that keeps on giving for tabloids. Readers are always interested and the stories keep getting weirder and weirder.

Date posted: 2016-01-10