Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, and consults for the Patients Rights Council.

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Reflections on the Jahi McMath Tragedy

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Last month, a thirteen-year-old girl named Jahi McMath entered Children’s Hospital Oakland for elective surgery to treat sleep apnea. She later suffered a catastrophic cardiac arrest, and was soon declared “brain dead.” The hospital told Jahi's mother and extended family she had died and that they would turn off her ventilator. Her family protested. . . . Continue Reading »

The Personhood Pincer

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The Nonhuman Rights Project made headlines recently by filing three lawsuits seeking to have chimpanzees declared legal persons entitled to “bodily liberty,” and hence, writs of habeas corpus to end their forced captivity… . Continue Reading »

Have Mercy on Clarence Aaron

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Our leaders don’t use their power to show mercy much anymore. There isn’t a measurable political upside in releasing prisoners from lawful punishments. If the released do nothing wrong thereafter, the releaser receives no career benefit. But if a commuted criminal reoffends, woe betide the governor running for office who released him. For the ambitious politician, it is a pointless risk to take. The time has come to change direction. Toward that end, I write in support of a decade-long campaign that seeks mercy for federally convicted drug felon Clarence Aaron. . . . Continue Reading »

Let JFK RIP? It’s Complicated

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The day remains vivid; a sunny and mild Friday, typical Los Angeles November weather. I was a high school freshman. Eleven a.m. gym class over, I was showered and hungry for lunch. As a group of us boys jostled and kidded waiting for the bell that would spark our daily dash to the food line, a kid came running up and said breathlessly, “Kennedy’s been shot!” . . . Continue Reading »

Forced Exit

From the November 2013 Print Edition

Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization? by kevin yuill ?palgrave macmillan, 208 pages, $85 I have always believed that liberals should be the euthanasia movement’s natural enemies. The liberalism to which I committed myself in my youth was concerned with expanding . . . . Continue Reading »

The V-Word Is as Bad as the N-Word

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The Washington Redskins football team is under great pressure to change its name to stop offending Native Americans. The ongoing coverage of that imbroglio got me to think about another commonly used epithet that demeans the most powerless among us, and yet remains in widespread use without attracting significant criticism… . Continue Reading »

The Grim Good of Animal Research

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Last week, scientists in the U.K. announced a “dramatic” step forward into understanding and treating Alzheimer’s. Researchers infected mice with prion disease and then experimented with methods to ameliorate the effects. They discovered a drug compound that stopped “the disease in its tracks,” restoring normal behaviors and preventing memory loss. If the knowledge gained by using mice can be applied to humans, one scientist believes, it will “be judged in history as a turning point” in the fight against Alzheimer’s… . Continue Reading »

The Biological Colonialism of the Rich

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Whenever I criticize the Wild West ethics of the in vitro fertilization industry, I hear from heartbroken people who tell me they would do “anything” to have a baby. I sympathize with the heartache of childlessness. But the willingness of many to do”and of the IVF industrial complex to sell”anything leads to a “me first” sense of reproductive entitlement… . Continue Reading »

The Case That Destroyed Marriage

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How did marriage lose most of its meaning? How has it gone from being regarded as an institution that formed the conjugal bond, established nuclear families, knit vital social ties across extended familial units, and forged the necessary social cohesion for the sheltering and rearing children to a more-or-less optional affirmation of love? … Continue Reading »