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Issue Fifty Three

December 2017

The editorial by Michael McCabe reflects on the complex way that people approach moral issues such as abortion. What might appear to be a straightforward and definite moral view can mask other values or needs that are generated by the loyalties we have to significant others. We need time to work through these complexities and to allow ‘grace to catch up with us’.

Marina and Peter Young describe the ‘Buttons Project’. This wonderful initiative offers a way for those who have experienced an abortion, including wider family and friends who have been affected, to share their stories and to create a memorial to the babies lost. Marina and Peter tell their own story of the abortion that led them to launch this project, and of their hope that the Buttons Project will help others find closure and healing.

Petrus Simons offers a succinct history of the eugenics movement. Beginning with Francis Galton’s definition of eugenics as the use of selective breeding for desirable traits to improve a species, the article describes how this idea was adopted and applied to humankind. While it is a well-known feature of the Nazi regime, the article argues that the spectre of eugenics remains.

Next, the the prevalence of mental health disorders and learning disabilities amongst the youth justice population, and its implications for public policy, is discussed by Sue Buckley. Regarding youth offending more as a health issue would arguably lead to better end results for youth and society.

The following piece by Greg Coyle reflects on the question of ‘fairness’. New Zealand, a society that once prided itself on offering ‘a fair go for all’, is more divided than ever in its approach to fairness. After discussing several approaches to justice as fairness, the article offers a framework for a better understanding of what is ‘fair’ for New Zealand families today.

Katherine Pettus depicts Palliative Care as a ‘subversive’ element in a health system that is focused on ‘cure’. Moving vulnerable and ‘incurable’ patients from the margins to the centre of health practice not only transforms the value of the patients and their families but also allows for the realisation that we are all vulnerable, and that while domination and control are futile, ‘accompaniment’ is transformational.

The final article presents TheNathaniel Centre’s response to the Consultation Paper from the Health and Disability Commissioner on “Health and disability research involving adult participants who are unable to provide informed consent.” There may well be occasions when it is, in theory at least, ethical to waive the need for consent.

We hope that you find something worthwhile in this issue to reflect on.


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