MercatorNet: promoting human dignity

Michael Cook

Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University in the US where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature. He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia. Currently he is the editor of BioEdge, a newsletter about bioethics, and MercatorNet. He also writes a bioethics column for Australasian Science and contributes occasional op-ed pieces to newspapers and websites in the US, UK and Australia.

What we all need is a user-friendly euthanasia clinic, says Nitschke
19 May 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: Philip Nitschke
Euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke has reiterated his determination to set up “Exit clinics” where people can organise their deaths – as soon as legislation is passed in Tasmania or South Australia. Writing this week in Online Opinion, an Australian web magazine, Dr Nitschke says:

Rollercoaster to death
18 May 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
“And now for something completely different” is a Monty Python catch phrase which seems both true and inadequate for the brainchild of a Lithuanian inventor at Imperial College London. Julijonas Urbonas has designed a euthanasia roller coaster.

With so much shopping to do, who has time for kids?
13 May 2011 | FEATURES |  
tags: demography, fertility
Some countries may be caught in a low-fertility trap which dooms them to declining populations.

Proud to be a wimp
10 May 2011 | FEATURES |  
tags: Osama bin Laden, terrorism
Asking hard questions about the morality of killing Osama bin Laden is not being effete and cowardly.

It feels kinda weird
3 May 2011 | FEATURES |  
tags: Osama bin Laden, war on terror
Take 2: Human dignity was not served by images of jubilant crowds cheering at the news of the death of Osama bin Laden.

From a doctor who changed her mind
9 Apr 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: palliative care
Dr Diane E. Meier is one of America’s leading palliative care physicians. She is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and is the recipient of numerous awards. She was once an advocate of assisted suicide, but has changed her mind. Here are some remarks she made last month at a community seminar in Vermont.

Nurses union boss endorses euthanasia
7 Apr 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: Australian Nursing Federation
Nurses are the front line of health care so their views on euthanasia matter a lot. That’s why it was so surprising to read an editorial in the Australian Nursing Journal by the president of the Australian Nursing Federation, Coral Levett, which endorses it wholeheartedly. It is a personal endorsement, but since her union has 200,000 members, her personal views are likely to influence policy-making within the Australian Labor Party, and even in the Gillard government.

Unclear end-of-life concepts cloud euthanasia debate
6 Apr 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: law, Tasmania, terminology
A genuine public debate on "legalising euthanasia" can only happen after a clear distinction is made between assisted suicide and euthanasia and the withholding, refusal, or withdrawal of life-sustaining measures, says a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) law academic.

51 die in first full year of Washington’s right-to-die law
6 Apr 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: assisted suicide, Washington
Fifty-one people have died in the first full year under Washington state’s Death with Dignity Act. Figures released by the state health department show that 68 physicians wrote life-ending prescriptions for 87 patients in 2010. Of these 72 died: 51 from the medication and 15 died of their illnesses. Another 15 patients were still alive. In 6 deaths, it was unclear whether the patients had taken the drug.

Moscow to host first demographic summit in Moscow in June
tags: demographic winter, Russia
If there is any country in the world which ought to know the stupidity of yabbering about over-population, it is Russia. With a birth rate of about 1.2 and a decline of 6 million people over the past 20 years (12 million without immigration), Russia is in trouble. As Prime Minister Vladimir Putin puts it, "Without exaggeration, the central problem of contemporary Russia is demography, strengthening the family, [and] increasing the birth rate."

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