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With the wild popularity of the new TV series The Handmaid’s Tale, surrogacy is back in the limelight. The Hulu show, based on the cautionary novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, follows Offred, a woman who is isolated and confined for the sole purpose of bearing children for the people who keep her. This… Read more
BIOETHICS FORUM ESSAY
In an essay in the May-June 2017 Hastings Center Report, Holly Fernandez Lynch and Michelle N. Meyer assess the impact of the revised Common Rule on biospecimen research. They believe that the proposed “broad consent” approach – which involves participants agreeing to the storage of blood and other biological samples for subsequent use in a… Read more
Not long ago, I received a questionnaire from an organization on a crusade to lower birthrates to protect the health and well-being of people and the environment. Called the Population Connection, it is the successor to ZPG (Zero Population Growth), started in the 1970s by Paul Ehrlich. Shortly thereafter I read a few quotes in… Read more
In 1971, the United Nations passed a resolution prohibiting its member nations from advertising psychotropic drugs to the general public. More than 40 years later, this resolution has done little to halt pharmaceutical companies from marketing stimulants as treatments for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. The means by which, and the ethical dilemmas involved when, pharmaceutical companies… Read more
Fake news proliferates on the internet, and it sometimes has consequential effects. It may have played a role in the recent election of Donald Trump to the White House, and the Brexit referendum. Democratic governance requires a well-informed populace: fake news seems to threaten the very foundations of democracy. How should we respond to its… Read more
Three years ago, a small pharmaceutical company with a big agenda created a fake feminist group so that they could get a bad drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The story of how this happened is a case study in how industry affects medical discourse, the subject of a PharmedOut conference that will… Read more
After years of fluctuating and troubled efforts, the nations of the world in December of 2015 came to the remarkable agreement to work together to reduce global warming. On June 2, President Trump announced that our country will withdraw from that agreement. Like many others I was appalled by that decision, which was reckless, thoughtless,… Read more
“Death with dignity” for the past 40 years has meant, for many people, avoiding unwanted medical technology and dying in a hospital. A “natural” death at home or in a hospice facility has been the goal. During the last 20 years, physician-assisted suicide has been legalized for terminally ill patients in several states of the… Read more
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
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