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HomeNews ReportsColumbian Medical College endorses using brain-dead women as surrogate mothers, later apologises after outrage

Columbian Medical College endorses using brain-dead women as surrogate mothers, later apologises after outrage

“Women are not utensils to be thrown away after use, women have human rights...” Colombian member of Congress Jennifer Pedraza said

On Wednesday (February 1), the Colombian Medical College tendered an apology after it endorsed a controversial paper by a Norway-based academic named Anna Smajdor, who called for using brain-dead women as surrogate mothers.

As per a report by The Telegraph, it had published a Spanish translation of the research paper and initially defended its actions by claiming it to be representative of the author’s view.

“Women are not utensils to be thrown away after use, women have human rights, even if some people forget this,” Colombian member of Congress Jennifer Pedraza reacted strongly to the development.

After being labelled misogynistic, the Colombian Medical college was forced to retract and issue an apology. “(Our objective is) medical progress at the service of humanity with the highest bioethical standards,” it said in its defence.

The Background of the Controversy

On November 18 last year, academic Anna Smajdor published a research paper titled, ‘Whole body gestational donation’ in Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics.

“We already know that pregnancies can be successfully carried to term in brain-dead women. There is no obvious medical reason why initiating such pregnancies would not be possible,” the abstract of the contentious paper read.

“I suggest that states and health services should adapt their policies and procedures to allow for WBGD among other donation options,” she added.

Screengrab of the research paper by Anna Smajdor

“I suggest that brain stem dead men would also have the potential to gestate, meaning that the pool of potential donors is further increased – and that certain feminist concerns might thus be assuaged,” Anna Smajdor had claimed.

She wrote, “Since we are happy to prolong the somatic survival of already pregnant brain-dead women, to initiate pregnancy among eligible brain-dead donors should not trouble us unduly.”

The academic concluded, “Abortion, especially late term abortion, can be traumatic for gestating women both emotionally and physically. However, in the case of WBGD, the gestating woman is already dead and cannot be harmed.”

The controversial idea was floated by a bioethicist, at Queensland State University, named Paul Gerber in June 1998. In his defence, he said, “‘I can’t see anything wrong with it and at least the dead would be doing some good. It’s a wonderful solution to the problems posed by surrogacy and a magnificent use of a corpse. It has my complete support.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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