Almost overnight a small industry in freezing women's eggs has sprung up. One enterprising company is holding "Let's Chill" parties for 30-something career women in Manhattan. Apple and Facebook are covering the cost for employees. Is this liberation or a new way of keeping women under the corporate thumb? Miriam Zoll reports.
Even in a job like mine, where you see headlines daily about artificial reproduction, its breakthroughs, techniques, problems, debates -- it comes as a surprise to read an article like Miriam Zoll's in today's list and find that egg freezing has leapt the barrier betwen the laboratory and the marketplace. Drug companies and fertility clinics are marketing themselves to young women through "Lets Chill" parties (how cool!) and websites with cute names like Eggbanxx and pictures of laughing 20-somethings with no intention of having a baby until they are 30-something. It costs, of course, but that's just something else for employers to cover in insurance plans. Read Miriam's article and wonder at the life plan young women are being sold.
"They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it." That's a quote from Confucius, taken from Zac Alstin's article about the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also quotes the sage. Xi is reputedly “repulsed by the all-encompassing commercialization of Chinese society, with its attendant nouveau riche, official corruption, loss of values, dignity, and self-respect.” Zac, who is a student of Chinese phiosophy, wonders whether the president is really keen to "rule by virtue", or just using the sage's mantle to enhance his power. What do China watchers think?
Leading the news hour tonight was a bulletin about the Ebola crisis in West Africa -- most of it about the few Western people who have died from or been affected by the virus. Simon Rushton in one of today's articles makes a fair comment, I think, in pointing out that the current situation would not be such a crisis if the West put more resources into developing adequate health systems in the poorest countries. But global leaders react to crises and the rest of the time seem reluctant to deal with the infrastructure needs.
As we have often remarked on this site, Western leaders assume that controlling the number of Africans being born is the answer to everything. Doesn't this atttitude poison all our dealings with Africa, including our response to their crises?
Tomorrow the Supreme Court of Canada will hear a case which may decide whether the Criminal Code’s prohibition of assisted suicide is constitutional. If the prohibition is struck down, doctors will be involved in assisted suicide and euthanasia. Two of our stories today deal with this momentous issue: an open letter from the Physicians' Alliance Against Euthanasia and a touching essay on the meaning of suffering at the end of life.
Last week we published Breaking the silence, an article by Janna Darnelle whose husband left her for his homosexual partner, which also describes the consequences for their children. Today we have posted a follow-up piece, Ruthless misogyny, by Rivka Edelman (who was raised by a lesbian mother) about the campaign of harrassment that followed the original publication of Darnelle's article.
A couple of Aussies have had a brain explosion about limiting the population in order to save the planet. See below for what they have come up with.
I mentioned earlier in the week that I would say more about a trip -- actually a pilgrimage -- that took me reluctantly (ahem) away from my keyboard for a couple of weeks. I have done so today and I hope it conveys a little of the wonderful experience that it was.
We get international organizations, countries, and groups which like to entice us to deviate from our cultural practices, traditions, and even our religious beliefs. And this is because of their belief that their views should be our views. Their opinions and their concept of life should be ours.
We say, “No we have come of age.” Most countries in Africa are independent for 50, 60, 100 years. We should be allowed to think for ourselves. We should be able to define: What is marriage? What makes the family? When does life begin? We should have answers to those [questions]. - Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, speaking to the Synod on the Family in Rome.
Why did the US Supreme Court refuse to hear appeals by states which have had their marriage laws sabotaged by lower court judges? With no dissent? And why are the judges constitutionally wrong? There are some answers to these questions in today's stories.
Amongst other things there's an interesting (I think) video on our front page -- Lech Walensa, that unique revolutionary, addressing an audience at the IESE Business School about the political future. His message, based on the experience of Poland in the 1980s: Nothing is impossible, but success depends on values, not on structures. Good stuff.