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Protection of Conscience Project

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April-June, 2002


26 June, 2002
Witnesses sought for Abortion Non-Discrimination Act

The Energy & Commerce Committee of the American congress will tentatively hold a hearing on
the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act on July 9th, 2002. The bill's supporters are seeking witnesses who can provide oral or written testimony about the need for additional legal protection of conscientious objectors.

21 June, 2002
Adult bone marrow stem cells may displace embryonic stem cells

Scientists at the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute have established that adult stem cells (multipotent adult progenitor cells-MAPCs) in mice and rats can be transformed into specialized cells in the body. Commentators observed that the finding could increase opposition to using human embryos in stem cell research. The good news for those concerned about freedom of conscience in health care is that the research should also diminish pressure to participate in morally objectionable research or therapies. [National Post]

20 June, 2002
Wrongful birth lawsuit won in Germany

Parents whose son was born without hands or lower arms and with deformed legs sued their obstetrician for failing to detect the defects during prenatal eugenic screening. They were seeking compensation for his care, and damages for depression suffered by the boy's mother, who said that she would have aborted him had she known about the deformities. The German Federal Court has now ruled that the doctor must pay the parents 275,800 euros and a further 10,225 euros to the mother. German doctors are protesting the ruling. A French court made a similar ruling earlier this year. (See France continues to feel effects of wrongful birth ruling.) Wrongful birth and wrongful life lawsuits have a particularly adverse impact on health care workers who do not want to be associated with eugenic practices for reasons of conscience.

17 June, 2002
Millionth in vitro baby born

Critics of artificial reproductive technologies greeted reports of the birth of the millionth baby conceived in vitro with the observation that millions of embryos have been destroyed in the process. The increasing use of the technologies brings pressure to bear on those who do not want to be involved with them. For example, pharmacists may be asked to dispense drugs used during the process, and physicians may be expected to co-operate by referring for artificial interventions or participating in surrogacy arrangements.

13 June, 2002
Controversy erupts in South Africa

In 2000, the South African Minister of Health complained that abortion "is still not a service that we can confidentially offer to all women." She claimed that one of the main reasons was "the prevailing attitude among some health professionals." In 2002 she again complained that women seeking abortions were hampered by the fact that few health workers were willing to participate. Now, a television documentary, videotaped using concealed cameras at a large rural hospital near Groblersdal in Mpumalanga, appears to be generating further criticism of conscientious objectors.

In fact, the government of the day was warned repeatedly that its proposed Termination of Pregnancy Act would prove unworkable in practice because of the large numbers of health care workers opposed to abortion and lack of resources available to implement it. The advice was ignored, and it now seems that the warnings were well-founded. See the letters from Dr. Harvey Ward of Cape Town, and the text of a survey he conducted in the Western Cape in 1997. Other relevant background information is found in the article No Place for Abortion in African Traditional Life - Some Reflections .

US military pharmacies and the 'morning after pill'

Widespread problems for conscientious objectors have been avoided by a decision to make the potentially abortifacient 'morning after pill' an optional rather than mandatory product carried in American military pharmacies. It will be important to ensure that objectors are accommodated in pharmacies that elect to carry the drug.

12 June, 2002
Post-abortion stress case

A North of England woman is suing Britain's National Health Service (NHS) for failing to warn her about the possibility of post-abortion stress that resulted in a serious breakdown three years later when she gave birth to a child. If the case is successful, it may have the secondary effect of alleviating pressure on health care workers who do not want to participate in abortions.[BBC News online, 12 June]

Australian court rejects 'wrongful life' claim

Justice Timothy Studdert of the Supreme Court of New South Wales has ruled that 'wrongful life' is a concept that has no basis in Australian law. He rejected claims by three disabled children, who were suing their physicians. His ruling was based on the assertion that such claims were contrary to public policy. To accept them would erode respect for human life and for the handicapped in society. Alternatively, he ruled, it was impossible to compare existence with non-existence. Finally, to recognize wrongful life claims would likely have other adverse social impacts, such as encouraging the handicapped to sue their mothers for having continued with their pregnancies. [The Age] Like 'wrongful birth' suits, 'wrongful life' claims are a legal method used to force objecting health care workers to participate in eugenic practices.

10 June, 2002
Change nickname of 'morning-after-pill'

So many Thai women are using the 'morning after pill' at the rate of more than 10 pills a month (more than twice the maximum recommended dosage) that it is being suggested that the pill be called the 'emergency pill' instead. The idea is to more clearly convey the importance of not using the drug routinely. [Bankok Post] However, the use of the word 'emergency' in this context is problematic from the perspective of conscientious objectors. 'Emergency contraception' is the preferred marketing term used in North America, and it is used to try to force objectors to prescribe or dispense the drug on the grounds that the possibility of a pregnancy is a medical 'emergency'.

7 June, 2002
Australian lawmaker seeks legalization of abortion up to birth

Wayne Berry, the Labor Party speaker of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legislative assembly, has proposed a bill to make abortion legal at all times during pregnancy, for any reason. If the bill becomes law it will likely have a significant impact on health care workers who do not want to be involved with abortion.

Religious coalition favours abortion, contraception

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice was founded in 1973. It includes representatives from the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, Reform and Conservative Judaism, and other faith traditions. A conference planned for June in Washington, D.C., will introduce Muslim and Buddhist theological perspectives. Daniel Maguire, identified as a 'Catholic theologian', will be the keynote speaker. The group illustrates the tensions that can exist between conscientious objectors and opponents, who may be members of the same religious denomination.

6 June, 2002
Couple demands abortion insurance payment

Andrea and Thomas Klercke of Maryland chose to abort their child because of a diagnosis of anencephaly, a rare condition in which the brain fails to develop. They are demanding that their health insurance company pay for the abortion. The company refused to pay because it ruled that the abortion was elective rather than therapeutic. [Frederick News-Post]

Abortion Non-Discrimination Act

H.R. 4691 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Markup is expected soon. It is important that all members of this House committee be contacted immediately. This bill reaffirms a basic principle: no health care provider should be forced to perform or participate in abortions. See

4 June, 2002
Union president tries to force objector to pay dues

Kathleen Klamut considered the Ohio Education Association to promote abortion through its political positions. In 1999, while working in Louisville, she negotiated an agreement through the Equal Opportunity Commission to send her union dues to a charity. The president of the union local at Ravenna City Schools refuses to accept the agreement. Klamut has filed another complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission. Fortunately, a lawyer for the Ohio Education Association believes that she will be accommodated, as the union routinely accedes to requests from conscientious objectors to divert fees.[Cleveland Plain Dealer]

3 June, 2002
Poll suggests probability of conflict among Catholics

In May, 2002, Leger Marketing conducted a telephone survey of Canadians concerning Catholic doctrine about abortion and contraception, among other things. 72% of Canadians and 74% of Catholics polled agreed with the statement that the doctrines were "dated and out of sync with the times." The poll appears to indicate the probability of conflict between Catholic health care workers who adhere to Church doctrine and others who do not. However, the validity of this conclusion depends upon the exact wording of the question(s) used in the survey.

1 June, 2002
Switzerland Votes to Legalize Abortion

40% of the electorate voted to make abortion more readily available. 72% of those casting ballots supported the measure. The referendum had been forced by an anti-abortion coalition seeking to tighten the existing law, which was rarely enforced. Abortions were, in fact, performed regularly, though not in all parts of the country. Government statistics suggest 12,000 to 13,000 abortions were performed each year. The new law permits abortion prior to 12 weeks gestation if a physician believes that the mother will face "distress" if a child is born. Abortions after 12 weeks will be permitted if the physician believes that the mother will face "profound distress" or a threat to her "physical integrity." [Associated Press, Reuters] Since abortions were already being performed, it is unclear how much impact the new law will have on conscientious objectors. Elsewhere, the fact that abortion has been legalized is frequently used as a reason for suppressing freedom of conscience among health care workers.


30 May, 2002
Late term abortions in Canada up 578 percent

A trend to fewer infant deaths in Canada has been attributed to a 578 percent increase in the number of abortions performed on women 20 to 21 weeks pregnant, probably as a result of eugenic screening for birth defects. Late term abortions, sometimes called 'genetic terminations', can be particularly traumatic for health care workers who may be pressured to participate. (CBC ) ( See Foothills Hospital Now Forces Nurses To Participate In Genetic Terminations)

29 May, 2002
Wisconsin 'wrongful life' suit dismissed

A Wisconsin appeals has dismissed a suit by parents of a boy who was born at less than 24 weeks gestation. They had claimed that they were not informed about the possibility that he would be disabled, and were thus denied the opportunity to withdraw or withhold treatment. The court ruled that parents have a right to withhold treatment only in in the case of an infant in a "persistent vegetative state". (The Washington Times)

28 May, 2002
New York's mandatory abortion training vs. conscience

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (R) plan to force all OB/GYN residents at public hospitals to undergo abortion
training is limited by New York state's protection of conscience legislation, which prohibits discrimination against health care workers who refuse to participate in abortion. The number of OB/GYN residents who now refuse to participate is estimated at 15%. However, the law does not protect applicants for employment, for medical school or for hospital privileges or positions. While objectors who currently hold positions are protected by the 'opt out' provision in the law, those who object to abortion may find themselves excluded from practice by discriminatory hiring practices. (News story) (Washington Times)

26 May, 2002
Euthanasia advocate active in Australia

Dr. Philip Nitschke, an Australian physician who wants euthanasia legalized, is reported to be preparing to assist in the suicide of a terminally ill Melbourne woman. She is one of several people the doctor intends to 'assist' in coming weeks. A previous patient, who was said to have been diagnosed with terminal cancer, killed herself with an overdose of barbiturates in the presence of 21 family members. An autopsy later disclosed that she had an inoperable twisted bowel, not cancer. Dr. Nitschke subsequently admitted that he had been present when the deceased had been told that she did not have cancer. Dr. Nitschke's activism, covered by the media, keeps up pressure for legalization of euthanasia, something that would have a serious impact on health care workers who have moral objections to it. (Herald Sun)(The Age)

27 May, 2002
After three years, conscientious objector wins lawsuit

A U.S. District Court jury found that Riverside County violated the constitutional rights of former nurse Michelle Diaz by firing her after she refused to dispense the morning after pill. The jury found that the Riverside Neighborhood Health Center violated her First Amendment rights of free speech, her rights of freedom of religion, and failed to reasonably accommodate her religious beliefs. It awarded damages totaling more than $47,000 - including $19,000 in damages for back pay, and more than $28,000 in damages for emotional distress. Diaz was fired in June, 1999. (News Release)

25 May, 2002
New Jersey Senate bill threatens freedom of conscience

Bill S185, that would force insurers to provide contraceptive coverage, has been stalled in New Jersey. Freedom of conscience advocates are seeking further support to see that it does not proceed.

23 May, 2002
Study finds unacceptably high number of euthanasia deaths in Netherlands

A study published in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that an unacceptably high percentage of Dutch patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS - Lou Gehrig's Disease) died by euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Workplace Religious Freedom Act (US Senate)

Amendments to the 1964 Civil Rights Act have been proposed in bill S2572 in the United States Senate. The amendments include a definition of the term 'undue hardship' (used with reference to an employer's duty to accommodate religious belief to the point of 'undue hardship'). The proposed definition will prevent courts from limiting religious freedom by minimizing what constitutes 'undue hardship'.

22 May, 2002
European Union may make abortion a condition of membership

Pravda reports that the European Parliament will vote in June on a document that would make legalization of abortion a requirement for membership in the European union. Abortion is illegal in almost all cases in Ireland, a full member of the EU, and in Poland and Malta, which are seeking membership.

21 May, 2002
Danes favour euthanasia

A poll conducted in Denmark indicates that euthanasia is supported by 68% of the Danish electorate. The results, published in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, show only twenty percent of the 999 people surveyed were opposed to euthanasia. 93% favoured it to relieve the suffering of terminally ill patients, while 82% approved of it in the case of incurable illness. Shock expressed by Denmark's Health Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen indicates that those surveyed also indicated support for ending the lives of the aged, mentally ill and handicapped. Danish Medical Association president Jesper Poulsen described euthanasia as "incompatible with the role of practitioners" (Agence France-Presse; May 21, 2002). The comments from Dr. Poulsen offer hope that the position of health care workers who are morally opposed to euthanasia will not be neglected in subsequent discussion.

19 May, 2002
Fetal ovary used to treat menopause syndrome in China

A 28 year old woman from China's northern Henan Province has received an ovary from an aborted fetus in a transplant operation at the No.2 Hospital of Zhengzhou University. The transplant was performed to treat premature senility of her ovaries, which had led to insomnia, mood swings and coarsened skin. (Xinhua News Agency) Increasing resort to this type of procedure may adversely impact health care workers who object to the use of tissue or organs obtained from abortion.

17 May, 2002
Belgium legalizes euthanasia

Within three months, a law permitting euthanasia will be in force in Belgium. The law will allow doctors to kill terminally ill, conscious patients who are suffering "constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain" from an accident or incurable illness and have freely asked to be killed. Doctors must ensure that patients are aware that treatment for pain is available. The new law will likely bring pressure to bear on health care workers who have moral objections to euthanasia. (Agence France Presse English, 16 May, 2002) Marc Moens, vice-chairman of the Belgian medical chamber (ABSYM) told Reuters Health that Belgian doctors oppose the new Belgian euthanasia law because it allows the killing of patients who are not terminally ill. A survey conducted in 2001 by the Artsen medical journal found that 75% of doctors opposed the law, and 80% stated that they would be unwilling to carry out patients' requests for euthanasia. Meanwhile, Zenit reports that the new Netherlands government favours a revision of euthanasia law. The Christian Democrats, who opposed legalization of euthanasia, won a majority in the Dutch general election. [Zenit, 17 May, 2002]

15 May, 2002
Obstetricians limiting, abandoning practices

High insurance rates for malpractice are forcing doctors to abandon obstetrics or limit their practices. The rates have been rising because of the increasing frequency of suits and increasing amounts of awards. About 30% of the suits are brought for the birth of a "neurologically impaired infant", something that can affect physicians who have moral objections to using eugenic screening to identify targets for abortion. The soaring rates and probability of being sued have led most Las Vegas obstetricians to refuse to accept newly pregnant women as patients. It is reported that most Mississippi cities with less than a population of 20,000 no longer have doctors who deliver babies, apparently because the state is notorious for high damage awards and a law that allows suits to be filed in jurisdictions with reputations for high damage awards, regardless where in the state the case originates. Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia have also been identified as states in which obstetricians are limiting or abandoning their practices.(Fox News) (Doctor sued)

14 May, 2002
Abortion Non-discrimination Act

A new bill to provide necessary protection for freedom of conscience with respect to abortion has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. (HR 4691)

11 May, 2002
Threat to freedom of conscience in New Jersey

Freedom of conscience advocates in New Jersey encourage citizens in the state to contact their elected representatives about bill A1693, which may be amended to force religious believers to provide prescription medications that they find morally objectionable.

9 May, 2002
Ban against "wrongful life" lawsuits challenged

Parents with a Down Syndrome child are arguing that the Utah Supreme Court should throw out a 1983 state law that bans 'wrongful birth' lawsuits. Their lawyer asserts that they were deprived of the opportunity to consider abortion because the pre-natal tests failed to disclose the genetic markers for the condition. He suggests that failure to provide information for the purpose of eugenic screening is "medical malpractice". The hospital responds that it provided all of the information in its possession and points out that the tests are not perfect.

8 May, 2002
Bias alleged in South African parliamentary hearings

A parliamentary hearing organized by the Reproductive Rights Alliance, a pro-abortion lobby group, took place on 7 and 8 May in South Africa. Pro-life groups were not invited to participate, and a silent protest was held at the end of the second day to protest the managed exclusion of their viewpoint. Protestors held posters of a newborn baby and a fetus with the
captions: "They can't speak. neither can we" and "They can't speak. Now we are not allowed to speak for them". The Chairman of the Health Committee accused them of breaking the rules of parliament and called police to eject them. He
tore-up one of the placards and manhandled an elderly pro-lifer.

Only 38% (88 of 290) abortion sites in South Africa are operating, and the hearings heard that this is due to lack of resources and doctors and health care workers who refuse to participate in abortion for reasons of conscience. At one point it was suggested that conscientious objection be criminalized. No objectors were present to defend their position, nor were submissions invited from them. ( United Christian Action South Africa)

The problems discussed in the hearing were predicted by a South African doctor before the passage of the Termination of Pregnancy Act. Writing to the Constitutional Assembly and National Assembly in 1996, Dr. Harvey Ward of Cape Town (now Lac La Biche, Alberta, Canada), warned that failure to consider both resources and the willingness of doctors to participate in abortion might see "our facilities overwhelmed, our personnel dispirited and divided, and our existing services in disarray." (Letters) In 1997, Dr. Ward conducted a survey of Western Cape physicians, the results of which supported his earlier warnings to the government.

6 May, 2002
Hawaiian Senate rejects assisted suicide

The Hawaiian Senate pulled a bill legalizing physician assisted suicide out of committee to force a vote on it, but the bill was defeated 14-3 when three senators switched sides. [Catholic News Service, 6 May]


29 April, 2002
BBC reports "British woman denied right to die"

In a unanimous judgement, seven judges of the European Court have ruled that Diane Pretty, a terminally ill British woman, cannot claim a "right to die" under the European Convention on Human Rights. (Previous story)

26 April, 2002
Eugenics should be accepted

Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, asserts that eugenics is being practised in the form of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, and that there is nothing wrong with the notion that the "genetic quality of the population" can be improved by eugenic practices. Prenatal eugenic screening already presents problems for conscientious objectors.

23 April, 2002
California and Arizona legislatures attack freedom of conscience

Arizona Governor Jane Hull has signed a bill to force insurance companies offering prescription drugs to supply female birth control. The only exemptions allowed are for religious institutions whose employees and clients share the same beliefs. The exemptions do not protect denominational health care organizations, such as hospitals run by the Catholic Church that serve the general public. Hull's attitude was exemplified by an anti-Catholic jibe. Referring to the current scandal about clerical sexual misconduct, she asserted that the Catholic Church should clean its own house rather than concerning itself with "the subjugation of women."

The California state assembly has passed a bill that would require hospitals to provide the potentially abortifacient 'morning-after pill' to sexual assault complainants. Washington, New York and Illinois have enacted similar measures.

19 April, 2002
Supreme Court of Canada rejects assisted suicide request

A three judge panel of the Supreme Court of Canada has refused leave to appeal from James Wakeford, who was requesting legal assisted suicide.

18 April, 2002
Assisted Suicide Bill Stalls in Hawaiian Senate

House Bill 2487, which would legalize assisted suicide for terminally ill, competent adults, has been stopped in a Hawaiian senate committee after having passed the lower House.

17 April, 2002
Additional complaint against physician delays hearing in Ontario

A Christian physician in Barrie, Ontario, who faces a disciplinary hearing for refusing to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried patients has stopped taking new patients and has scaled back his practice. Dr. Stephen Dawson was to have faced a tribunal in April, but an additional complaint has forced postponement of the hearing until September. Originally scheduled for 4 days, it is now believed that the hearing will take 10 days. (See details)

14 April, 2002
Extension of conscientious objection beyond health care workers

Father Frank Pavone, co-founder of Priests for Life, has suggested that "non-medical service personnel who may be called upon to help an abortion facility" such as plumbers or electricians, are entitled to refuse to provide services for reasons of conscience. While this is certainly true, Fr. Pavone clearly makes the suggestion as a tactic that is intended to make it more difficult to operate abortion facilities. This approach may cause difficulties for health care workers seeking protection, because it lends credence to the claims that 'conscience clauses' are nothing more than a clever attempt to limit access to abortion.

12 April, 2002
Wisconsin woman can sue for late diagnosis of pregnancy

In what has been incorrectly called a 'wrongful birth' suit, a woman suffering from lupus is suing her doctor for failing to diagnose her pregnancy in time for her to have an abortion. She appears to have argued that she would have had an abortion had the pregnancy been diagnosed earlier. She was in the second trimester of pregnancy when she stopped taking some of her medication for lupus, as a result of which, it is alleged, she suffered eventual kidney failure and required a kidney transplant. The appeals court explicitly ruled out the possibility of suing for costs associated with the raising of the child, which is the usual characteristic of a 'wrongful birth' suit.

10 April, 2002
British government seeks advice of Voluntary Euthanasia Society for treating mentally incapacitated

Concerns have been raised over consultation by the British government with the Voluntary Euthanasia Society in developing guidelines for withdrawing of assisted nutrition and hydration from adults who are not dying. Withdrawal of nutrition and hydration has been widely adopted under the rubric of 'refusal of treatment', and is considered by many conscientious objectors to be a form of euthanasia.

9 April, 2002
Governments asked to buy human organs

Doctors are suggesting that governments should pay living donors who offer kidneys for transplantation. The kidneys would become part of a pool that could be screened and offered to recipients. The proposed scheme would continue to prohibit the purchase of organs by individuals. It is being suggested as a way of dealing with black market trade in human organs.

Suppression of religious freedom in denominational hospitals touted as 'compromise'

The New York state Senate and Assembly each passed similar 'women's health bills' earlier in 2002. The Assembly bill would have forced all employers to provide contraceptive coverage in health plans, while the Senate bill included an exemption for religious institutions that object to contraception. The two chambers have now agreed to a bill that incorporates the Senate's exemption clause, which does not apply to church-run institutions like schools or hospitals.

8 April, 2002
France continues to feel effects of wrongful birth ruling

Despite new legislation providing some protection against civil suits for doctors who fail to diagnose birth defects, soaring malpractice insurance rates and the filing of 'copycat' lawsuits are causing French doctors to consider giving up the practice of prenatal eugenic screening. Low fees for service are contributing to the pressure. (USA Today) (Previous report)

4 April, 2002
New York City hospitals plan to train Ob-Gyn residents in abortion

New York public hospitals are continuing plans to train all obstetrics and gynecology residents in abortion. Conscientious objectors will not be required to participate, but it is not clear that they will be protected against discrimination in other respects. New York's 11 public hospitals provide 6,500 of the 100,000 abortions performed annually in the city.

Difficult case goes to Texas Supreme Court

The parents of a severely disabled 11 year old girl are suing Women's Hospital in Houston, Texas. The child was 4 months premature at birth. The parents had insisted that no heroic measures be undertaken, but the attending physicians concluded that they were legally obliged to intervene. An ultrasound indicated a birth weight of about 1.4 pounds, and hospital policy required lifesaving efforts for any infant over 1.1 pounds. Aside from this critical point, there is a dispute about whether or not the treatment caused the continuing disabilities. A $60 million dollar award to the parents was overturned on a first appeal. The case does not directly impact freedom of conscience in health care, but does illustrate the kind of complicated situations within which that freedom must be exercised.

2 April, 2002
"Immortal" fetal brain cells to be marketed

Cell Factors, a company in the United Kingdom, is reported to have used fetal brain cells obtained from abortions to develop a self-replicating line of brain cells. These are to be sold for pharmaceutical and neuroscience research, making it more likely that employees of research facilities may be faced with conflicts of conscience.

California governor dismisses freedom of conscience as 'red tape'

California Gov. Gray Davis has ordered all HMOs to provide coverage for the potentially abortifacient 'morning-after pill'. He is quoted by Reuters as having said, "A women's right to choose must never be held up by red tape."

1 April, 2002
Dutch officially legalize euthanasia

The law permitting euthanasia has come into force in Holland. Patients who are said to be facing unbearable and interminable suffering are permitted to request euthanasia. Doctors who adhere to the prescribed procedural safeguards will not be prosecuted for killing them. Pressure for broadening of the law is already being exerted, with the Netherlands Voluntary Euthanasia Society suggesting that the elderly should be prescribed a suicide pill that they can take when they feel the time is right. Legalization of euthanasia presents a significant problem for medical professionals who object to euthanasia for reasons of conscience.

Deaf lesbian couple deliberately seek conception of deaf child

A Washington Post 11 page cover story describes the efforts of a deaf lesbian couple who sought a sperm donor with a history of deafness in his family to increase the chances that a child conceived would be born deaf. Their efforts have resulted in a deaf five year old daughter and an infant son who has extremely limited hearing. The story is a reminder to professionals working in the field of reproductive technology that they should not dismiss the possibility that they will one day be faced with a demand that conflicts with their conscientious convictions.