Here are my thoughts on today’s headlines. Everything but the titles is written by yours truly.

Mother, daughter strive to discover father’s identity by Neal Hall:

Olivia Pratten, born as a result of artificial insemination, has been trying to get access to the sperm donor’s records for years without success.

Along with her mother, she is trying to get the government to institute legislation that would preserve gamete donor records, and is trying to have the Adoption Act struck down as she argues it doesn’t afford children of gamete donors the same rights as adopted children (with regards to accessing their donor parents’ records).

According to the article in the Vancouver Sun, Pratten’s mother said that a psychology study showed that children of gamete donors learning about their donor parents is imperative to the formation of their identity.

While the issue discussed in the article focuses primarily on whether or not donor records should be preserved for patients’ access, not discussed was the issue of privacy.

I admittedly do not fully know the privacy rights of donors, but the problem isn’t just a legal one: it has moral implications.

It is important that offspring of gamete donors know their donor parents’ medical history, etc., but, to quote the article on what Pratten’s mother said, the point that “offspring of gamete donors have a need to learn about their donor parents in order to be able to properly develop their identity” was compromised 28 years ago when Shirley Pratten decided to use artificial insemination as a means of having a child.

It would seem as though sperm donors, who are donating and not signing up to have a child of their own, should have some privacy rights.

Au contraire, if privacy is a big issue for the donor, there is no obligation to donate in the first place.

The question that should be visited is whether any individual in general has any right to access information on another individual, regardless of parentage, as well as the concept of “parent responsibility:” what defines a parent, what are their responsibilities towards their offspring, and whether or not gamete donation is a no-strings-attached process where the one parent assumes all of the parenting duties.

Police reprimanded for 2005 tethering of drunk teen in cell by Sandra McCullock:

I am including this article in today’s headlines because I remember hearing about the incident when it first happened about five years ago.

An adjudicator ruled this week that two Victoria police officers committed an abuse of their authority when they tethered Willow Kinloch, 15 years old at the time, in a cell, hands cuffed behind her back, and legs tied together and strapped to the door for four hours.

The incident baffled me then and continues to baffle me now: why is it that two fully-grown police officers felt the need to completely immobilize an intoxicated 15-year-old girl? Could they really not handle her between the two of them?

The way they dealt with the situation would suggest that they were dealing with a 250-pound, armed, dangerous and extremely volatile individual. But that simply was not the case.

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Here are my thoughts on today’s headlines. Everything but the titles is written by yours truly.

Britons spending almost half the day plugged in by Neil Midgley:

About 45 per cent of the average Briton’s waking hours are spent using some type of technology, whether it’s surfing the Internet, watching television, listening to the radio or texting friends, according to Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report.

If we assume that the average sleep time is eight hours, then half of the 16-hour waking day is spent plugged in.

That’s eight hours spent communicating with friends and reading, listening and watching the news, among other things.

Needless to say, it seems like the world is shrinking in size as we grow closer through technology.

Research team develops method to test police Tasers by Matthew Pearson:

Researchers have established a specific set of procedures that can be used to determine whether Tasers and other conducted-energy weapons used across the country are functioning the way they are supposed to.

The testing system is a result of the difference in beliefs of the manufacturers and commissioner Thomas Braidwood who, in his 2009 report, concluded that “conducted-energy weapons do have the capacity to cause severe injury or death.”

Taser International maintains that the weapons pose no danger if deployed correctly and in accordance with their specifications.

The testing procedures are thorough, an example being that the maximum and minimum electrical pulses should be reported to ensure that they fall within the weapon’s average electrical range.

It’s nice to see that precautions are being taken to ensure that the weapons Canadian police are using are void of defects, but it almost seems as though these safety measures are being put in place to prevent any future lawsuits directed at Taser International.

The emphasis of studies regarding Tasers should be shifted away from the weapon itself, and redirected towards the people actually deploying them.

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