We've laid down the law that entertaining ourselves by pitting one animal against another in bloody combat is cruel and unethical. However, few Americans are aware that there is "entertainment" even nastier than dog or cockfighting.
A recent debate in the fields of bioethics surrounding novel treatments for an uncommon genetic disorder has raised the question: Is it ethical to attempt to predetermine the sexual orientation of one's children?
The promise of the field of synbio as a whole is that scientists will be able to employ this type of genome synthesis to create customized life forms for a wide array of purposes. The peril is exactly the same as the promise.
It's increasingly difficult to figure out which of the numerous organizations claiming to offer "reproductive health services" actually provide termination referrals and which are merely sham clinics established by right-wing religious activists.
It shouldn't matter whether breast enhancement for GID patients is a "core" medical necessity. What ought to matter is that a human being is suffering and the medical establishment has the technology and resources to help.
By challenging this longstanding system of benign neglect, bishops and zealots may believe they will achieve ideological purity. What they are actually doing is jeopardizing Catholic hospitals and public health.
The treatment of a pregnant Tallahassee mother, Samantha Burton, by her obstetrician may well rank among the most egregious abuses perpetrated against a patient by her caregiver since the triumph of the patients' rights movement.
If one believes that the prevention of suffering may sometimes justify the withdrawal or withholding of care, then the very fact that Houben was conscious for twenty-three years might call more convincingly for such action.