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Issue Fifty Four

May 2018

The editorial by John Kleinsman reflects on the use of language and terminology, noting that the words we choose not only reveal but also shape our thinking. The history of the Nazi genocide offers insights that are relevant for our time, insights that highlight the links between language and action. More specifically, this part of our history contains important lessons about the way in which society’s attitudes to certain practices can be radically changed through an intentional process of ‘moral reframing’ that is intimately linked to the selective use of language.

We then outline some key issues relating to the government’s request that the Law Commission review the current legislation surrounding abortion in New Zealand. It is our view that abortion is best treated as both a justice issue and as a health issue.

The second article is a summary of The Nathaniel Centre’s Submission to the Justice Select Committee on the End of Life Choice Bill. This summary focuses on the key points covered in the Submission: ‘choice’, palliative care, involvement of the medical profession, lessons from overseas jurisdictions, polling, and disability.

Continuing the theme of euthanasia, Grace Carroll explores the often-expressed idea that if euthanasia for animals is acceptable then why not bring it in for human beings. She concludes that it not only fails as an argument but that the lessons from animal euthanasia provide a strong rationale for not legalising euthanasia.

An article by Margaret Somerville suggests that people’s differing responses to controversial issues such as euthanasia and assisted human reproductive technologies reflect differing starting points about the nature of human existence; those who believe there is a mystery associated with human life and those who deny there could be any mystery to their existence and are certain that this life is all that there is. Reconnection with Nature and a revaluing of the natural have the potential to create a new common ground for evaluating the ethics of new technologies and other controversial bioethical issues.

Finally, we offer a summary of The Nathaniel Centre’s Submission to ACART on Proposed Changes to Donation Guidelines and Surrogacy. We critique the proposed move to rescind the biological link policy which, because it radically redefines the traditional understanding and structure of the human family, has broader societal consequences. The proposed recommendation to rescind the biological link between intending parents and their children makes the well-being of children secondary to the needs and desires of adults.

We hope that you find something of interest in this issue as well as something that extends your thinking.



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