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Reading “After DNR: Surrogates who persist in requesting cardiopulmonary resuscitation” in the Hastings Center Report, I was reminded of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s chastisement of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s opposition to Jeff Sessions’ nomination as Attorney General. McConnell called for Warren’s censure by the Senate because she quoted a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King… Read more
BIOETHICS FORUM ESSAY
Populism has been influencing public discourse and election outcomes in several countries recently. The degree to which populism has a sway on elections varies with the electoral system in each country but the impact is likely to be substantial regardless of electoral outcomes. Reflecting on this phenomenon, Mildred Solomon and Bruce Jennings published an essay… Read more
There is a broad and deep moral conviction that health care should be distributed according to genuine need and not left to the cold mercy of pure market forces or the logic of actuarial fairness. Unfortunately, the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed last week in the House of Representatives, and other legislation threaten to undermine that moral commitment.
On May 4, 2017, just over one month after abandoning a previous version of the bill, the U.S. House of Representatives voted by a 217-213 margin (with one abstention) to adopt the American Health Care Act (AHCA). During the coming weeks and months, most of the political commentary will focus on the strategies that were… Read more
Is it reasonable to hope that concerns about “cultural harms” can be integrated into oversight mechanisms for technologies like gene editing? That question was raised anew for me by the recent National Academy of Sciences report on human genome editing and at a recent conference at Harvard on the international governance of genome editing technologies…. Read more
After much anticipation, on April 22, HBO debuted The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a film based on Rebecca Skloot’s bestselling book, starring Oprah Winfrey. Lacks’s cells provided the foundation for the now infamous HeLa cell line, the first set of human cells able to reproduce outside the body. So-called immortal cell lines like HeLa… Read more
Clinical research with prisoners is ethically vital and challenging. Studies investigating novel psychological, behavioral, and pharmacological interventions are imperative for the health and experiences of the people they focus on. Yet clinical research on prisoners also raises considerable ethical concerns—most notably, whether prisoners participating in research are subjected to coercion or exploitation. An article in… Read more
In 2008, The President’s Council on Bioethics turned to Immanuel Kant and his deontological philosophy as a resource for deliberations on contemporary bioethical issues. The report focused on Kant’s understanding of human dignity, and his deduction that the value of a human is intrinsic. The Council ultimately asserted that according to Kantian moral philosophy, worth… Read more
People value their health. It allows them to pursue their aims and enjoy their lives, and it contributes to their well-being. But health is not only good for particular healthy individuals. It is also good for their families, communities, nations, and in a world in which people flows are global, health is good for the… Read more
In a recent article in the Hastings Center Report two leading bioethicists, Mildred Solomon and Bruce Jennings, called on fellow bioethicists to “come to the aid of civil liberties and political rights,” and to use their scholarship to “clarify how . . . individual well-being is bound up with justice.” As a citizen I too… Read more
In their paper “Bioethics and Populism: How Should Our Field Respond?” Mildred Solomon and Bruce Jennings have sparked an important debate about the role of bioethics in our current political climate. They warn of the risk to constitutional democracy posed by the rise of authoritarian populist regimes around the world, and they point to the… Read more
Arkansas has recently joined seven other states (Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota) in banning abortions for sex selection. Arizona’s law requires doctors to ask a woman seeking an abortion if she knows the sex of the fetus, and if she does, to tell her that it is illegal to… Read more