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Author Archive: Jon Holmlund

About Jon Holmlund

06/30/2017

PAS in California: the first 6 months

In a 2016 data report, the California Department of Public Health says that in the first 6 months after California enacted the “End of Life Option Act,” 111 people committed suicide with the help of a doctor’s intentionally lethal prescription, as permitted under the terms of the law.  The time period reviewed was the last 6 months of 2016. The people in question are understood... // Read More »

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06/22/2017

Two Random Thoughts about Health Care Policy and Justice

I haven’t yet read the Senate Republicans’ draft health care bill, just out today.  Until I do I’m not going to comment about it directly. The matter is a bioethics concern solely from the perspective of justice, really.  What is the wisest, most just policy?  And here one is forced, I think, into a fairly utilitarian assessment of what approach provides the best outcome for... // Read More »

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06/15/2017

Single-Payer in California?

I’m not sure that even advocates of single-payer health care will find the spectacularly overreaching “Healthy California Act” (California Senate Bill 562) a good idea.  Follow the link and read the text yourself—I link, you decide. While the bill appears at points to read like a re-assertion of current federal programs, and perhaps some related private insurance (e.g., Medicare Advantage), in fact it looks to... // Read More »

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06/01/2017

Euthanasia in Canada: Early Returns

Last week’s New England Journal of Medicine carried a report from physicians in Toronto about early results implementing “Medical Assistance in Dying,” or “MAiD,” the preferred euphemism for doctor-assisted suicide or euthanasia, in Canada. “MAiD” became legally sanctioned throughout Canada in 2016.  It includes not only assisted suicide—where a doctor provides a patient with a drug prescription intended to be lethal if taken as directed—but... // Read More »

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05/19/2017

Mailbag

Brief comments on four short articles from this week, on disparate topics: James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute (meaning he is politically right of center) pleads in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for compromise between Republicans and Democrats on further healthcare policy reform.  Arguing that the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) may never pass, he believes that a better result... // Read More »

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05/11/2017

All we like SHEEFs, Part 2

Carrying on with last week’s musings… In thinking further, I think my attempt was confused by conflating the moral status of a SHEEF—a synthetic human entity with embryo-like features, something more than a clump of cells of human origin, but less than a human being—with reasons why I might want to hold that nobody should ever make certain sorts of SHEEFs. Again, SHEEFs are human,... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care and tagged , , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

05/05/2017

All we like SHEEFs (?)

So, how should we address the moral status of synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (“SHEEFs”)? First, we should consider that these are human, as opposed to non-human, if they arise entirely from cells of human origin.  Human/non-human hybrid creatures are just that, and partially human, biologically.  But are any of these human beings, as in, in California the crime of murder is described as... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

05/05/2017

All we like SHEEFs (?)

So, how should we address the moral status of synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (“SHEEFs”)? First, we should consider that these are human, as opposed to non-human, if they arise entirely from cells of human origin.  Human/non-human hybrid creatures are just that, and partially human, biologically.  But are any of these human beings, as in, in California the crime of murder is described as... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

04/21/2017

Do Extended Pluripotent Stem Cells Raise Ethical Issues?

On April 6, the journal Cell published work (subscription or online article purchase required) from the Salk Institute in San Diego, in which scientists have created a new “reprogrammed” stem cell. These cells are called “extended pluripotent stem cells” or “EPS” cells.  They are different from embryonic stem (ES) cells, which are removed from intact embryos that arise from fertilization—typically requiring specific creation and destruction... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

04/13/2017

Reining in the SHEEFs

Consider the human embryo… Ordinarily, it arises from the union of a sperm and egg to form a zygote, which is totipotent, that is, able to develop into a full individual.  In our time, fertilization can happen artificially, as with artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, or naturally through the process that is accessible even to educated fleas.  But the zygote develops into a multicellular... // Read More »

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This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.