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VESS Newsletter Profile

Colin Gavaghan

Since reading Huxley's Brave New World as a teenager, Colin Gavaghan has been fascinated by the moral dilemmas brought in the wake of modern technology. Although winning prizes in music and literature, he decided to study law and, repelled by the sterility of practices he experienced first hand in a law firm, even when involved in defending a local murder case, he soon specialised in medical law and ethics as an area more ripe for original thought.

Currently studying for a Doctorate, he now has two part-time jobs - one involves tutoring in law and ethics, whilst the other is as Research Assistant for VESS. "It's a refreshing challenge, dealing with the public and putting the dilemmas into accessible language." His duties involve not only answering queries and attending the membership database, but preparing material for the Newsletter deadlines in a variety of formats. "It's also enjoyable working part of a small team in the Office - a Ph.D can be a very solitary experience."

Colin is no stranger to controversy. He was a founder member of a Glasgow philosophy group which explored current issues on television such as the prevalence of political bias in the media. His other interests include genetics (several of his articles are in press) Humanism, the anti-censorship campaign and the development of reproductive technologies. "I'm pro-choice in the widest sense: technologies should expand choice. Humanism attracts me not because of religious or anti-religious feelings, but because the law doesn't always allow the freedom of choice that should be available; Humanism should be about accepting a plurality of views."

Since joining the VESS team he has proved himself invaluable, not only in his methodical approach to the work, but in his energy and enthusiasm to take up v.e. issues in his spare time. Debating was always his forte at University - now he is using his skills to debate v.e. publicly against such anti-choice luminaries as Father Morrow.

Gavaghan is optimistic about the work from Glasgow University on Physician Assisted Suicide. "Should we work on many fronts or focus on this new bill? It's difficult to say, but this is probably the best research in the UK so far. The bill could well become law in a few years."

Colin Gavaghan - writings on v.e. can be found in this and earlier editions of EXIT Newsletter.

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