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The birth of gene-edited twin girls was announced by a young Chinese scientist He Jiankui through one of four self-made promotional videos in English on YouTube (a website officially banned in China) on November 25. Three days later, at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing held in Hong Kong, He revealed that another… Read more
BIOETHICS FORUM ESSAY
I started writing this on my way back to New York from the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, held in Hong Kong November 27 to 29, where the breaking news of the alleged world’s first birth of genetically edited babies loomed large. The surprising news both reinforced and undercut the summit’s goal to… Read more
Across the country, billboards are popping up suggesting that vaccines can kill children, when the science behind vaccination is crystal clear – vaccinations are extremely safe. Researchers who study the beliefs of anti-vaxxers have found many different reasons, not just religious or political, as to why some parents refuse to get their children vaccinated. As a bioethicist who investigates how societal values impact… Read more
What do many transgender persons, farmworkers, homeless persons, people with disabilities, and many other persons in the United States have in common? One answer: they/we live and work in spaces lacking safe, accessible, and adequate toilet facilities. Think about that for a minute. Think about how you respond–multiple times each day–to your needs to eliminate… Read more
Old Jews are why I am who I am. Not only the old Jews you’d expect–my grandparents and great-grandparents, who came here because, as I learned for a family history project in third grade, “it was bad in Russia.” Also, the elderly couple who in 1992 shared a room at the Jewish Home. Holocaust survivors,… Read more
When people ask me what kind of medicine I practice, I most often say family medicine. Now, however, I am also apt to say I practice “democratic medicine.” What is democratic medicine? Less a style than a way of being, it embodies five principles born of democratic values related to history, duty, community, citizenship, and… Read more
I suspected the two alibi witnesses were lying. The accused in the case, Alexei Melnikov, coached long distance walkers and runners for ARAF, the All-Russia Athletic Federation. Lilya Shobukova and her husband testified that they handed over 150,000 Euros in blackmail money to Melnikov in Moscow in January 2012. He alleged this was impossible because… Read more
In 2012, I coauthored a case report about the successful use of dietary supplements in treating a case of male infertility in the American Family Physician. Before it was published, I was surprised to receive a communication asking me to disclose the fact that I had written a textbook on dietary supplements. It had not… Read more
Last March, 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos were lost at University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland when the temperature in cryogenic tanks spiked due to human error. Officials at University Hospitals have apologized repeatedly to the affected patients, and say that they are working to provide refunds, free services, and “emotional support.” A similar incident… Read more
Last month, England announced that it would allow women to take the second pill required for a medical abortion–misoprostol–at home, rather than requiring them to travel to a clinic. The policy brings England in line with Scotland and Wales, as well as many other countries, and it eliminates significant obstacles to legal abortion for many… Read more
Four articles in the Hastings Center Report make an array of claims about whether advance directives should or should not be used to instruct caregivers to withhold oral feeding of a person who reaches a designated stage of dementia. I would like to advance some central ethical observations on the matter. A life can be… Read more
In “Avoiding Deep Dementia,” an essay in the current issue of the Hastings Center Report, legal scholar Norman Cantor explains why he has an advance directive that calls for voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as a means of ending his life if he develops dementia and reaches a particular state of decline. Cantor’s essay… Read more
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