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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

My Bioethics Predictions for 2013



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The Center for Bioethics and Culture has again asked me to prognosticate on all things bioethical for 2013. Regular readers will recall how stunningly accurate I was for 2012.  And now, I have seen what will happen this year. As before, the primary action in bioethics will surround Obamacare, specifically, the Free Birth Control Rule. From my predictions:

 I predict:

1. The Obama Administration will not give significant relief from the Free Birth Control Rule to non-church religious organizations: I am convinced that the Obama Administration seeks to constrain freedom of religion to a far more restricted “freedom of worship.” Thus, since religious institutions such as universities and charities are acting among the wider public—not just on behalf of the institutions’ own religious co-believers—the Obama Administration will take the position that they must comply with terms of the FBCR, with only limited window dressing changes made to the Rule as it applies to religious organizations.

2. Many dissenting religious organizations will sue the government seeking relief from the rule based on the First Amendment.

3. The U.S. Supreme Court will accept an appeal to determine whether private business owners are protected under the terms of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act: The decision in that case will determine whether a corporation or other private business entities can be said to have a religious belief under some circumstances, and indeed, whether business owners have any religious rights at all in the context of operating their businesses. The mists are thick here, so I don’t think the final decision will be made until 2014.

I also see the future in assisted suicide, cloning research, IVF, and other matters. I just wish this prophetic talent extended to the stock market. 



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