It is an issue that has been brewing for almost a decade now, since prisoner John Hirst first had his case dismissed by Britain’s High Court in April 2001, and, because in November 2010 the Council of Europe gave Britain six months to bring themselves into alignment with the judgements of the Strasbourg Courts, the question is now on everybody’s lips: Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
Back in March 2004, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that a blanket disenfranchisement of prisoners, irrespective of crime or sentence, was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. By the time of the 2010 elections, the British government had failed to materially respond to these rulings, but now Europe has mounted pressure to change – forcing the new Conservative government to tread carefully the line of avoiding in the future paying out tens of millions of pounds in compensation to prisoners while still keeping sweet the Conservative supporters who want to see Europe’s power over policy in Britain lessened. Continue reading “The Prisoner Dilemma”
Stem cell research, especially when conducted from embryonic stem cells, is a hotly debated topic for a long time already. The point of view from science and medicine is that embryonic stem cell research is necessary and ultimately very benefiting to a lot of very, and often chronically, sick people, children and adults alike. If we look at it from an ethical point of view, stem cell research was for a long time fraught with problems. Using embryonic stem cells means that the embryo from which they are harvested, is not able to live anymore and will be discarded at the end. The embryos used in these cases are embryos from parents who allowed them to be used for research purposes. Many European countries have accepted the fact that the embryos will be discarded but see the benefit of the research and the possible cures it can provide and therefore have allowed the research under strict rule and guidelines. Continue reading “The fight about the cell is going on and on.”