In recent years, discussions concerning the relation between one’s sense of self and one’s body have become increasingly prosaic. We are in the midst of a ‘gender nonconformity’ cultural revolution that defies gender stereotypes, grounded in the belief that one’s true self is the inner person of thoughts, feelings, and desires. The very public transition of Bruce to Caitlyn, bathroom wars, boycotts, and the introduction of several controversial governmental policies attest to a crisis of identity that challenges nearly every aspect of society.
Terrible, too, was the sight of people dying like sheep through having caught the disease as a result of nursing others. This indeed caused more deaths than anything else. For when people were afraid to visit the sick, then they died with no one to look after them . . . . The bodies of the dying were heaped one on top of the other, and half-dead creatures could be seen staggering about in the streets or flocking around the fountains in their desire for water.
It’s already too late to start debating whether or not scientists should clone a mammal. As is commonly known, that is precisely what scientists did in Scotland back in 1997 when they cloned an adult sheep named “Dolly.”
Dolly’s clone was not easily conceived, for it took researchers 277 attempts before they produced 29 embryos that survived longer than six days. Even then, only one lamb was born as a result! And here is where the ethical implications begin to appear, for if a similar ratio of human embryos were used in an attempted human cloning, the loss of human life would be morally unconscionable.
Bills to change the law to allow euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide continue to be presented to parliaments throughout the western world, on a wave of overwhelming public support for “the right to choose and have a dignified death.” While it is unlikely the debate will go away, we can still hope for a more honest one.
Sadly, promotion of assisted death often has its origins in a personal tragedy. Many of those who lobby most strongly for a change in the law have experienced the difficult passing of a loved one. While services such as palliative care and hospice can do much to relieve the distress dying people experience, many still do not have access to it. We must do better.
Posts of this forum are reviewed by CBHD staff and an editorial committee, however, the views expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily endorsed by The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity or Trinity International University.