Click here for a deeper conversation on this topic led by Hastings Director of Research Josephine Johnston.
Little noticed in the United States but a big deal in France, President Emmanuel Macron announced in January that he is creating a bioethics commission to review the country’s policies on a wide range of subjects, including human reproduction, euthanasia, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. It’s a unique initiative driven by a problem that has bedeviled… Read more
BIOETHICS FORUM ESSAY
“It felt selfish to put my baby at serious risk by pursuing a vaginal birth,” writes Kristen Terlizzi in a collection of essays published recently in Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. You can read Terlizzi’s full story here. The idea of childbirth is weighted with contradictory expectations. “In listening to women, it became clear to me… Read more
Hurricane Harvey dissipated in September, but much of the destruction that it wreaked on Texas and Louisiana remains. When addressing residential concerns, disaster relief officials prioritize the newly homeless over the chronically homeless, choosing to protect the previously privileged over the unprivileged. These benefits range from housing assistance to medical aid, impacting every part of… Read more
Not since Rene Descartes gazed from his garret window in early 17th-century Paris and wondered whether those were men or hats and coats covering “automatic machines” he saw roaming the streets has the issue of personal identity and your cranium been of such import. Descartes feared a world that he alone occupied due to deception… Read more
It’s one o’clock in the morning in the pediatric intensive care unit. A 16-year-old patient tells his nurse that he disagrees with the medical treatment plan that was agreed to by his parents. While he is legally a minor, he may have the capacity to make his own medical decisions. He is scheduled for surgery… Read more
Before noninvasive prenatal screening becomes a routine part of gestational care, society needs to have difficult conversations about the ethical implications and establish a paradigm for truly informed consent in reproductive decision-making. These are admirable goals, set out in an article by Vardit Ravitsky in a special report on reproductive medicine published earlier this month… Read more
As modern medicine improves survival odds, many young cancer patients are living long lives that bear the markings of the disease and its treatment. The side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery often include damage to fertility, such as early menopause or the loss of viable sperm. A recent issue of the journal Narrative Inquiry… Read more
As I read a recently published report of an interesting and important placebo-controlled trial of arthroscopic shoulder surgery, one sentence in particular caught my eye: “The study was designed under the ethical supervision of an academic ethicist (JS) with placebo trial experience.” I regularly read scientific reports of clinical trials in the medical literature, and… Read more
The arrest of Jumana Nagarwala and her colleagues, in what has become the first case to be tried under the federal law prohibiting female genital mutilation, has brought female genital cutting practices into public conversation once again. Dr. Nagarwala, an emergency medicine physician from a small Shia sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra, was imprisoned… Read more
Do the recipients of organ transplants have a right to know if the organs they are about to receive were part of a research study? If so, are the recipients themselves research subjects? A recent article in the Hastings Center Report maintains that the recipients do have a right to know, but that they are… Read more
The Oxford philosopher Julian Savulescu, among others, has argued that prospective parents engaging in embryo selection using preimplantation genetic diagnosis not only may seek to have genetically enhanced children but are morally obligated do so. (See, for example, his essay “Procreative Beneficence: Why We Should Select the Best Children,” Bioethics, 15, no.5/6, 2001.) I argue that… Read more
Along with the recent public debates over Confederate memorials, there have been calls to remove or modify the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims, called the father of gynecology in medical histories, who conducted horrific experiments on enslaved black woman. Removal of the structures alone will not effectively address the depth and present-day impact of… Read more
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