[extropy-chat] BIOETHICS: the other shoe drops

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Fri Apr 2 09:39:43 UTC 2004

Robert J. Bradbury (bradbury at aeiveos.com) writes:
>Ok, the New York Times is reporting [1] that the U.S. Bioethics
>panel (chaired by that person we all know and love Dr. Leon Kass) is
>now suggesting limits to assisted fertility.

>"Oh gee we are sorry that your sperm are having a hard time dealing
>with your eggs, but by chance they do manage to get it together we
>want to regulate what you can do with the results because lord
>forbid you would donate any fertilized eggs you do not require so
>they could be used for stem cell research (killing a "child" in the
>process) because we wouldn't want any of that those biological
>reseaerch results to contribute to improving human health or God
>Forbid(!) extending human longevity because that would erode the
>monoply that religions have on life and death and the afterlife."
>ould be 'disastrous'. 'Clinical practice in Italy will become less
>efficient and will have an increased frequency of negative side
>effects, such as multiple pregnancies', he added.

On this side of the Atlantic, Italy already has its Leon Kasses,
and moreover, new ART laws passed last December. Hopefully, the
rest of Europe will NOT follow Italy's example.

(Ironically, once an Italian woman is pregnant, Italy's laws, in
fact, bend over the other way  helping her, not caring how she
got pregnant)


 From IVF.net

Italy passes strictest ART laws
By Dr. Kirsty Horsey
Dec 13, 2003, 23:38

The Italian Senate has passed a bill governing assisted reproductive
technologies (ARTs), said to be the most restrictive in Europe.
Parliamentarians voted 169-90 in favour of the bill, the first that
the country has passed in this area. Italian lawmakers, while
debating the new law, were concerned that Italy was seen as the
'Wild West of assisted reproduction' because, in the past, people
have been able to travel to the country for many controversial
treatments not available in their own countries.

Because of this, the new laws proposed are very restrictive,
limiting the use of ARTs to 'stable heterosexual couples'. Research
using human embryos is prohibited, as well as embryo freezing,
gamete donation, surrogacy and the provision of any ARTs for single
women or same-sex couples. The bill also says that no more than
three eggs can be fertilised at any one time, and that any eggs
fertilised must all be transferred to the uterus simultaneously. PGD
and prenatal screening for genetic disorders would also been banned.
Under the bill, ARTs can only be provided if the couple is
clinically infertile. Doctors will be able to 'conscientiously
object' to providing ART services.

The bill also proposes that existing IVF embryos in frozen storage
in Italy will be put up 'for adoption' if unclaimed, and storage
facilities will then be closed. Violations of the new legislation
will be severely punished, carrying jail sentences of between 10 and
20 years for scientists involved in cloning or the manipulation of
human embryos. Cloning will also be subject to a one million Euro
fine. Doctors who use donated gametes in treatment will be fined up
to 600,000 Euros and those providing ARTs for single women or
same-sex couples could be fined up to 300,000 Euros. The bill will
now have to get final approval from the lower house of parliament
before it becomes law, although it is thought that the text will
essentially remain the same.

Critics of the bill, including many liberal and female members of
the Italian parliament, have said that it is too restrictive,
especially in comparison with other European countries, and it
places women's health at risk. 'It is truly an awful law', said
Senator Gavino Angius, from the Democratic left. Italian scientists
have called it 'unacceptable and immoral'. 'Under this insane new
law, we will be obliged to implant a defective embryo in the womb',
said Nino Guglielmino, a doctor specialising in PGD. Arne Sunde,
head of the European Society of Human Reproduction (ESHRE), said the
new law would be 'disastrous'. 'Clinical practice in Italy will
become less efficient and will have an increased frequency of
negative side effects, such as multiple pregnancies', he added.


Amara Graps, PhD          email: amara at amara.com
Computational Physics     vita:  ftp://ftp.amara.com/pub/resume.txt
Multiplex Answers         URL:   http://www.amara.com/
"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" --Calvin

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