Doctors face charges for euthanizing autistic women
Three Belgian doctors are facing criminal charges for euthanizing a woman who was diagnosed with autism but may have been suffering only from a broken heart.
The woman, Tine Nys, was voluntarily euthanized in 2010 after being told she had Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. But her sisters say she lied to get the diagnosis and that she wanted to kill herself because she was depressed after breaking up with her boyfriend.
Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for the terminally ill and for those with psychiatric ailments that cause “unbearable and untreatable” suffering, The Washington Post reported.
The Netherlands is the only other country that permits euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.
Depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s are the three most common mental health reasons that people are euthanized in Belgium, according to the Associated Press.
The doctors who approved Nys’ death now face charges of poisoning and could spend life in prison.
The trial will have major repercussions, experts on the subject say.
“I think this (trial) has symbolic importance in the sense that it sends doctors a message … that you could be accused of a very serious crime and prosecuted if you don’t comply with the legal requirements for euthanasia,” said Penney Lewis, a law professor at King’s College London. “The prospect of criminal investigation may act as a mechanism to make doctors more careful.”
—The Washington Post, AP
Woman gives birth using deceased donor’s uterus
A woman who was born without a uterus has given birth after receiving a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor.
The first-of-its-kind surgery took place in 2016 when the recipient—who was born with a rare condition known as Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome—was 32. The deceased woman was 45 and had experienced three deliveries during her life.
The baby, a girl, was born in December 2017, weighing nearly 6 pounds.
Doctors revealed details about the surgery and birth in December 2018.
The surgery required connecting the birth canal to the donated uterus. The embryo was derived from in vitro fertilization.
“Biologically, organs of the living and the dead aren’t all that different,” Allan D. Kirk, the chief surgeon at Duke University Health System, told The New York Times. “But the availability of deceased donors certainly could open this up to a much broader number of patients.”
—The New York Times, CNN
Ala., W.Va. voters approve anti-Roe amendments
Voters in two states—Alabama and West Virginia—laid the groundwork in November for outlawing abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Alabama voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that recognizes “the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.” It further states that “nothing” in the state constitution “secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”
In West Virginia, voters passed an amendment that says “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”
The goal is to ensure that a state’s constitutions cannot be used to legalize abortion if Roe is struck down.
The pro-life story behind George H.W. Bush’s colorful socks
Many people enjoyed watching the late president George H.W. Bush wear colorful socks. But fewer people know the story behind them.
Bush—who was pro-life and who famously signed the Americans with Disabilities Act—often wore colorful socks that were created by John Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and Cronin’s father, Mark. They formed a company, John’s Crazy Socks.
Bush wore a pair of John’s Crazy Socks to his wife’s funeral.
“John would not have had the education he had and the opportunities he’s had without President Bush and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Mark Cronin said. “For him to reach out and touch our son, to let my son know he mattered and that he could stand with all other entrepreneurs, no matter that he had Down Syndrome, that was very special to us.”