Health & Lifestyle

Why should families have a say in organ retrieval?

It may come as a bit of a surprise to some people that even if a member of your immediate family carries an organ donor card, or is registered to donate his/her organs on death, you and your family could still refuse to let any organs be removed for donation if he/she were to suddenly die. Currently, under the UK Human Tissue Act 2004, a family is permitted to veto

Presumed Consent for Organ Transplantation – What does the Bible say?

Geoffrey Robinson MP wants to bring in an opt-out system for organ donation in England. His Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill is due its second reading (debate stage) on 23 February 2018. It seems he has a lot of support. Yet evidence for the claim that an opt-out system will increase transplants is still lacking and the Nuffield Council has advised this month that robust evidence is needed before any

Marie Stopes International: carrying out unsafe abortions in the UK and across the globe, using taxpayer millions

For the past five years, the charity Marie Stopes International (MSI) has been given £163 million in UK taxpayer money to spend on abortions in developing countries. This money also went on helping to liberalise laws on abortion. No other country gives as much money to MSI than our own Department for International Development (DFID). MSI is one of the main providers of abortion in England, but most of their

Seeing the Person behind the disability

Late in June, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) abolished the role of Disability Commissioner. This happened 36 hours before Lord Shinkwin, newly appointed to the role, was due to hold his first board meeting. Shinkwin explains that EHRC’s chair, David Isaac, had declared the role to be ‘redundant’. The rights of disabled people are often overlooked. Countries rightly cheer the great feats of athleticism, persistence and courage displayed

Why the rush to change blood donation deferral policies for commercial sex workers & men who have sex with men?

Commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men (MSM) in Britain and Scotland are to be allowed to donate blood three months after they last had sex (see also here, hereand here). The rule changes will come into force at blood donation centres in Scotland in November and in England in early 2018. The Government accepted the recommendations of the advisory committee on the safety of blood, tissues and organs (SaBTO) and are

College climbs down over ban on Christian doctors and nurses training in sexual and reproductive health

Doctors and nurses wishing to practise in sexual and reproductive health have been granted more liberty to exercise freedom of conscience under new guidelines published earlier this year. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), a faculty of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), has relaxed its stance on conscience in new guidelines issued in April so that those with an ethical objection to certain procedures can now obtain

DNA editing – a significant advance but many questions remained unanswered

You can see my Sky News interview on this story here. Scientists have, for the first time shown that it is possible to correct gene mutations in human embryos successfully using a gene editing tool potentially opening the door to treatment for over 10,000 single gene disorders. The US and the South Korean researchers used a new technology called Crispr which was only developed in 2013. The research appears in the journal Nature and has

Ideology or Evidence (part two)? The battle over abortion statistics

Having blogged about the triumph of ideology over evidence in relation to the campaign in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland for presumed consent to organ donation, I can now report on a campaign where evidence triumphed over ideology. This one is in relation to the reporting and publicity of abortion outcomes. To give some background: in January this year an organisation in Northern Ireland, Both Lives Matter, reported that an

Ideology or evidence? The battle over presumed consent to organ donation

The debate about changing the law on organ donation is one of a number of controversial issues where I believe that we are increasingly seeing see the triumph of ideology over evidence. A campaign to introduce ‘presumed consent’ to organ donation on death has been gaining momentum for some time and now similar legislation to that passed in Wales in 2015 is set to be debated, and perhaps passed, in

Charlie Gard: Emotion has trumped trust in today’s society, but parents and professionals can work together

The tragic case of Charlie Gard, and the desperate efforts of his parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard to do everything to give him a chance of life have gripped the national and international media.  The case raises profound and troubling questions about the power of medical technology, the duties and responsibilities of doctors and parents, and the role of the law courts, as well as the impact of global

Justine Greening’s transgender proposals are unscientific, dangerous & part of a greater social strategy

Men and women will be able to change their gender without a doctor’s report and amend their birth certificate accordingly under new government proposals. Yesterday Justine Greening (pictured), the education secretary and minister for women and equalities, said (£): ‘What we want to try to do is streamline the process, make it easier, de-medicalise it and make it less intrusive.’ She told Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News that the state needed to

Why Boots chemist should not have capitulated to pressure from BPAS over emergency contraception

Over the weekend I waded into the debate on whether Boots should reduce the price of the so-called ‘morning-after pill’ and criticised the high street chemist for ‘capitulating in the face of political pressure’. Let me explain why. Boots had originally defied calls to slash the price of ‘emergency contraception’ – with its chief pharmacist saying it did not want to ‘incentivise inappropriate use’. But late on Friday night Boots released a statement

Let’s not go back to Gin Lane – once again it’s time for government to rethink alcohol policy

‘History repeats itself.Has to.No-one listens’ Steve Turner It feels like déjà vu to once again see the headlines calling on the government to tackle alcohol related health problems.  A study from the University of Sheffield shows that up to 68,000 people will die from alcohol related liver diseases in the next five years unless action is taken. We were talking about the devastating impact of alcohol on the health of the

Family planning – ‘summit of a mess’

Last week’s London Family Planning Summit was, on the surface, a ‘successful’ follow up to the 2012 Family Planning Summit, which aimed to increase access to contraception for 120 million women. US$2.5 billion was pledged by governments and other donors to ‘improve and expand the reach of reproductive health services to women and girls in developing countries’. The UK’s own Department for International Development (DFID) pledged £45 million to this

The Conway Case – a change in the law to allow assisted suicide is dangerous and unnecessary

A 67-year-old Shropshire man with motor neurone disease (MND) is seeking to overturn the law banning assisted suicide. Noel Conway is backed by the former Voluntary Euthanasia Society (now rebranded Dignity in Dying (DID)), whose lawyers will argue that the current blanket ban on assisted suicide under the Suicide Act is incompatible with his rights under sections 8 and 14 the Human Rights Act (respect for private and family life and

Troubled times: Is God giving Britain over?

The rollercoaster journey of the last twelve months has left many UK citizens feeling dislocated and anxious about the future of our country. Political events – Brexit, Trump, a snap general election, a hung parliament, confidence and supply arrangements and the Queen’s speech – have laid bare deep divisions between old and young, right and left, urban and rural. These tensions have been exacerbated by terrorist incidents in London and

A personal response to the BMA vote on abortion

I was saddened to hear that the BMA have voted to recommend the decriminalisation of abortion. Having lost a baby at 29 weeks, I know only too well the effect that these laws have on those, who like me, refuse a termination and who lose a child. In the summer of 2015, at 23 weeks pregnant, I was admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of severe pre-eclampsia and a baby

Reflections on the BMA’s vote to ‘decriminalise’ abortion – ten key observations

Last week delegates at the BMA annual representative meeting (ARM) voted to support the decriminalisation of abortion. You can listen to the whole debate here and five brilliant two-minute speeches against the motion here. Two previous blog posts give the background in more detail here and here. The opposition speakers spoke with grace, eloquence and courage but were unable to sway the meeting. Many people may be surprised to know

How should Christians respond to the transgender issue?

You might think that there are few things more self-evident than the fact that human beings are divided into two distinct types, male and female. Females have XX chromosomes, female hormones, breasts, ovaries, wombs and vaginas. Males have XY chromosomes, male hormones, testes and penises. Don’t they? But now we’re being told that gender is simply a social construct, the product of a biased society. That gender has no biological

Where have all the nurses gone? NMC survey reveals an accelerating attrition of nurses and midwives

It seems sadly ironic that a week after Lord Crisp announced plans for a global campaign to promote the value of nursing in global health and development, the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council announced that in the last year 1,783 more nurses and midwives have left the professions than joined for the first time in over a decade. Inevitably this has fed into the current calls for an end to the

Over 1,000 doctors reject BMA abortion decriminalisation motion – this is why

Over 1,000 doctors and medical students have signed an open letter urging the British Medical Association (BMA) to reject a motion calling for the complete decriminalisation of abortion. Also, just under 21,000 members of the public have signed a similar petition on Citizen Go. Motion 50, which I have already reviewed in some detail, will be debated at the BMA annual representative meeting in Bournemouth at 10am on Tuesday 27

Good news for freedom of conscience in the UK

For some time we have been concerned at CMF about a possible weakening of conscience protection for pharmacists in the UK.  In December 2016 the pharmacy regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), issued new draft standards and guidance that changed a previous ‘right to refer’ with a ‘duty to dispense’.  The GPhC admitted at the time that removing the right to refer represented ‘a significant change’. During a consultation on

Three myths about Christianity and sexuality

A gay war hero from World War II is chemically castrated, leading to his suicide (The Imitation Game). A convent schoolgirl falls pregnant, so the nuns have her child adopted, which breaks her heart (Philomena). Gay activists against social injustice are victimised by straight society, but show generosity to others (Milk, Pride). Journalists reveal a child abuse scandal covered up by the church to save face (Spotlight). All true stories.

Doctors debate the complete decriminalisation of abortion at BMA ARM

Doctors could back the complete decriminalisation of abortion in Britain next week. On Tuesday 27 June the British Medical Association annual representative meeting in Bournemouth will vote on a motion seeking to end all legal restrictions on abortion. Currently, abortion remains illegal in Britain under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Under this law both mothers attempting to abort on their own, or any other person (including doctors) seeking to help them, are

Reforming the WHO: Can the new General Secretary really be an agent for positive change?

Overshadowed by the coverage of the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester last month, the British media largely missed the election of the new General Secretary of the World Health Organisation on 23 May: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (or Dr Tedros, as he now styles himself). A former Minister of Health in Ethiopia, he will become the first African head of the WHO when he takes over from Dr Margaret Chang on 30

Could life issues be a vote decider?

Who to vote for? It is a rare to find one party or one candidate that you think has all the ‘right’ views. Most of us will have to decide what is important to us – sometimes it will be the party, sometimes the candidate or maybe a single issue will make the difference. Deciding your vote on a single issue might seem quite narrow, but the position a candidate,

London Attacks

The last nine weeks have seen three terrorist attacks in the UK; two in central London and one targeting teenagers at a pop concert in Manchester. The most recent attack came on Saturday 3 June, at around 10:00 in the evening. A van drove on to the pavement heading south on London Bridge, hitting a number of pedestrians before crashing by the Barrow Boy and Banker public house. Three men

Biotechnology companies positioning themselves to make millions from eugenic abortions

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is warning that a new screening test for pregnant women, Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPT), which is due to be rolled out next year on the NHS, could lead to babies being aborted because they are the wrong gender or have other ‘undesirable’ characteristics. Professor Tom Shakespeare, chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics working group on NIPT, on 22 May said that: ‘Abortions on the basis

Getting conscience right and wrong

Can a doctor refuse to participate in something he finds unconscionable? Is this an important liberty to be safeguarded, or an unwarranted privilege which interferes with patient care? Must we leave our conscience at the door of our professional life? These some of the questions currently being discussed in the medical ethics literature. It should concern all those who care about liberty and integrity that the debate is skewed heavily

If we trust women, we should listen to them

Contrary to impressions given in the media, by professional bodies such as the Royal college of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and by most Parliamentarians, an overwhelming majority of Britons actually want to make it harder for women to get abortions, a new poll reveals. It is particularly striking how much support there is amongst women for lowering the time limit for abortion, which currently stands at 24 weeks. Of the