Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans and Indi Gregory: finding the hope

Hope

Indi Gregory was not simply another tragic case of a very poorly infant nor the latest case of another contentious end-of-life court case, though her case was the latest in a line of cases where courts sided with doctors against the wishes of parents. Indi was a beloved child, and everyone involved in her care wanted the best for her. The problem was they disagreed on what was best. Unfortunately, it is likely that there will be similar cases in the future which is why it is fruitful to reflect on attitudes and principles underlying decision making in these heart-breaking cases.

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Transparency, capacity and the nature of palliative care – the case of Sudiksha Thirumalesh

palliative care

In the majority of cases patients and their families trust their doctors. However, there is a growing number of high-profile cases hitting the media where patients, and especially the parents of very young and very poorly infants, simply do not agree with their doctors. Significantly, these cases are where the life of the patient is at stake and doctors believe that it is better to withdraw or withhold treatment and allow the patient to die ‘with dignity’.  

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When the AI tool has a name and the embryo a number

Pregnancy test

CHLOE is not only a popular girls name. CHLOE is also the name of a new AI-based decision support tool in use in a handful of fertility clinics. Developed by the Israeli company Fairtility, “Cultivating Human Life through Optimal Embryos” (CHLOE) has been promoted as a tool to, in the words of the company, help improve IVF outcomes by helping to determine the likelihood of an embryo becoming a viable pregnancy. CHLOE is used to monitor and analyse embryos so that embryologists can make ‘better decisions’ on which embryos to implant. The AI tool has been clinically tested on over 50,000 embryos and works by grading and giving a score to an embryo based on an algorithm. The AI tool has a name, CHLOE, the human being at his or her early stage has a number, is analysed, graded, and given a score for quality.

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The right to life as the foundation of all rights

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King

This article is an abridged version of a speech delivered at the annual dinner of the Pro-Life Campaign in Dublin in 2023

75 years ago, in 1948, as the world emerged from the horrors of the Holocaust and the second of two World Wars, enlightened leaders crafted two hugely important international documents, the Convention on the Crime of Genocide and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Child euthanasia – the next stop on the slippery slope

euthanasia

Talk to Oxford University Students by Lord Alton of Liverpool

I want you to imagine Marie. It is 2025 and Marie is a 15-year-old Canadian girl. Three months ago, her relationship with her first boyfriend ended and she remains heartbroken. Life doesn’t seem worth living anymore. Her self-esteem has plummeted. She feels less popular, less attractive and less talented than most of her friends at school. And, in her state of distress, she reasons the rest of her life will be worthless and miserable. Not uncommon for girls her age, Marie has been ill with anorexia in recent years. Her recent circumstances have led her to relapse. So, her parents take her to the local psychiatric hospital to see a doctor.

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When your mother’s not your mother: the problems of normalising surrogacy

Surrogacy

For most couples, the desire to have children is deeply imbedded in their relationship. After all, human beings are made for love and children are a real expression of love. So, when couples discover that they cannot have children this can be devastating. On the other hand, some couples, notably same sex couples, enter their union knowing from the outset that having their own children together is impossible, yet they still yearn to be parents, as do some single people who are not in any relationship. ‘Welcoming’ a child via a surrogate mother seems to provide the answer. Influential celebrities who use surrogate mothers have become role models for surrogacy and hold out this as an option for all. However, the desire to be a mother or father does not justify any right to have a child. Children have the right to be born in their own real families with their own mother and father.

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Organ harvesting and trading

In his encyclical, Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis highlights the related practices of slavery, trafficking in person, women subjugated and forced to abort and kidnapping for organ harvesting or organ trafficking. He notes that, whether by coercion, deception, or by physical or psychological duress, human persons, created in the image and likeness of God, are deprived of their freedom, sold, and reduced to being another person’s property.

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