Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Brave New World again

It's been an interesting few days.

The Daily Mail reported that abortion clinics are to be allowed to advertise abortion on TV and radio (with effect from April 30).

Said Dan Boucher, of CARE: "The idea that abortions should be freely advertised on TV along with toothpaste and breakfast cereal says something very sad about the way in which the values of our consumer culture, of acquiring and disposing, are penetrating our way of life."

Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: "Having an abortion is a deeply traumatic experience that can lead to further medical and physiological
complications. A 30-second advert is not the place to discuss and promote this medical procedure."

MP Nadine Dorries said: "What this is actually going to do is desensitise what abortion is and the seriousness of it, and making it sound like it's as easy as having your lunch. Broadcasters will be making profit through advertising revenue off the back of a service which ends life. It's appalling."

Cranmer writes: "It is curious that, at a time when all advertising for cigarettes and tobacco is banned from our TV screens in order to avoid promoting and propagating the habit, we should move towards permitting advertisements for abortion. Only a decade ago, HM Government (spurred on by EU directive) outlawed tobacco advertising in order to mitigate the detrimental effects on the nation's health. Why is lung cancer of a higher political priority than mental health? Is the life of an emphysemic pensioner worth more than the child in the womb?"

BioEdge, the bioethics website based in Australia, reports on a couple of interesting stories.

First, a company in Philadelphia suggested that in these days of economic difficulty women should consider "well paid, part-time positions" as egg donors and surrogate mothers. "Wages" range from $20,000 to $35,000.

Professor Art Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania, said it was "most outrageous."

Second, Dr Anna Smajdor, of the University of East Anglia, said pregnancy and childbirth are so barbaric, painful, risky and socially restrictive for women that public funding should be diverted urgently to the development of artificial wombs.

Ectogenesis - artificial gestation - is still the stuff of science fiction, but may be possible.

"Either we view women as baby carriers who must subjugate their other interests to the well-being of their children or we acknowledge that our social values and level of medical expertise are no longer compatible with 'natural' reproduction."

Another reminder of how remarkably prescient was Aldous Huxley's satirical Brave New World, published as long ago as 1932.