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A critical review of the debate over the still-hypothetical possibility of prenatal intervention by parents to select the sexual orientation of their children.
John Rock and the Reproductive Revolution
As Louise Brown—the first baby conceived by in vitro fertilization—celebrates her 30th birthday, Margaret Marsh and Wanda Ronner tell the fascinating story of the man who first showed that human in vitro fertilization was possible. John Rock spent his career studying human reproduction. The first researcher to fertilize a human egg in vitro in the 1940s, he became the nation’s leading figure in the treatment of infertility, his clinic serving rich and poor alike. In the 1950s he joined forces with Gregory Pincus to develop oral contraceptives and in the 1960s enjoyed international celebrity for his promotion of the pill and his campaign to persuade the Catholic Church to accept it. Rock became a more controversial figure by the 1970s, as conservative Christians argued that his embryo studies were immoral and feminist activists contended that he had taken advantage of the clinic patients who had participated in these studies as research subjects. Marsh and Ronner’s nuanced account sheds light on the man behind the brilliant career. They tell the story of a directionless young man, a saloon keeper’s son, who began his working life as a timekeeper on a Guatemalan banana plantation and later became one of the most recognized figures of the twentieth century. They portray his medical practice from the perspective of his patients, who ranged from the wives of laborers to Hollywood film stars. The first scholars to have access to Rock’s personal papers, Marsh and Ronner offer a compelling look at a man whose work defined the reproductive revolution, with its dual developments in contraception and technologically assisted conception.
Science, Ethics, and Law
To reduce the deleterious effects of environmental contamination, governments across the world have enacted regulations broadly conceived for entire populations. Information arising out of the Human Genome Project and other cutting-edge genetic research is shifting the policymaking process. This fascinating volume draws on experts from academia, government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations to examine the science of genomic research as applied to environmental policy. The first section explores environmental policy applications, including subpopulation genetic profiling, industrial regulations, and standardizing governmental evaluation of genomic data. The second section assesses from multiple angles the legal framework involved in applying genomics to environmental regulation. In the third section, the contributors review closely the implications of genomic research for occupational health, from disease prevention and genetic susceptibility to toxicants, to workers’ rights and potential employment discrimination. A fourth section explores the bioethical and philosophical complications of bringing genetic data and research into nonclinical regulatory frameworks. Genomics and Environmental Regulation points to ways in which information on toxicology and genetics can be used to craft more precise and efficient regulations.
Composed entirely of specially commissioned chapters by some of the outstanding scholars in medical sociology, this edition reflects important changes in the study of health and illness. In addition to updated and reconceived chapters on the impacts of gender, race, and inequality on health, this volume has new chapters on topics that include: --social networks, neighborhoods, and social capital --disability --dying and "the right to die" --health disparities --the growing influence of the pharmaceutical industry --patient safety --evidence-based medicine and quality of care --health social movements --genetics --religion, spirituality, and health
Vol. 35 (2005) - vol. 41 (2011)
The Hastings Center Report is a leading journal in bioethics featuring original scholarship and commentary on issues in health, medicine, medical research, and biotechnology as they affect individuals, communities, and societies. It is published by The Hastings Center, an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit organization.
Religion, Medicine, and Moral Anthropology
What, exactly, does it mean to be human? It is an age-old question, one for which theology, philosophy, science, and medicine have all provided different answers. But though a unified response to the question can no longer be taken for granted, how we answer it frames the wide range of different norms, principles, values, and intuitions that characterize today's bioethical discussions. If we don't know what it means to be human, how can we judge whether biomedical sciences threaten or enhance our humanity? This fundamental question, however, receives little attention in the study of bioethics. In a field consumed with the promises and perils of new medical discoveries, emerging technologies, and unprecedented social change, current conversations about bioethics focus primarily on questions of harm and benefit, patient autonomy, and equality of health care distribution. Prevailing models of medical ethics emphasize human capacity for self-control and self-determination, rarely considering such inescapable dimensions of the human condition as disability, loss, and suffering, community and dignity, all of which make it difficult for us to be truly independent. In Health and Human Flourishing, contributors from a wide range of disciplines mine the intersection of the secular and the religious, the medical and the moral, to unearth the ethical and clinical implications of these facets of human existence. Their aim is a richer bioethics, one that takes into account the roles of vulnerability, dignity, integrity, and relationality in human affliction as well as human thriving. Including an examination of how a theological anthropologyùa theological understanding of what it means to be a human beingùcan help us better understand health care, social policy, and science, this thought-provoking anthology will inspire much-needed conversation among philosophers, theologians, and health care professionals.
The Points of Conflict
Where should physicians get their ethics? Professional codes such as the Hippocratic Oath claim moral authority for those in a particular field, yet according to medical ethicist Robert Veatch, these codes have little or nothing to do with how members of a guild should understand morality or make ethical decisions. While the Hippocratic Oath continues to be cited by a wide array of professional associations, scholars, and medical students, Veatch contends that the pledge is such an offensive code of ethics that it should be summarily excised from the profession. What, then, should serve as a basis for medical morality?
Building on his recent contribution to the prestigious Gifford Lectures, Veatch challenges the presumption that professional groups have the authority to declare codes of ethics for their members. To the contrary, he contends that role-specific duties must be derived from ethical norms having their foundations outside the profession, in religious and secular convictions. Further, these ethical norms must be comprehensible to lay people and patients. Veatch argues that there are some moral norms shared by most human beings that reflect a common morality, and ultimately it is these generally agreed-upon religious and secular ways of knowing—thus far best exemplified by the 2005 Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights—that should underpin the morality of all patient-professional relations in the field of medicine.
Hippocratic, Religious, and Secular Medical Ethics is the magnum opus of one of the most distinguished medical ethicists of his generation.
The New Language of Global Bioethics and Biolaw
A novel and multidisciplinary exposition and theorization of human dignity and rights, brought to bear on current issues in bioethics and biolaw.
Debates about Biotechnology and the Environment
Going back at least to the writings of John Stuart Mill and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, people have argued for and against maintaining a state of nature. Is there an inherent virtue in leaving alone a naturally occurring condition, or does the human species thrive when we find ways to improve our circumstances? This volume probes whether “nature” and “the natural” are capable of guiding moral deliberations in policy making. Drawing on philosophy, religion, and political science, this book examines three questions central to debates over the idea of “nature” in human action. Conceptually, it asks what the term means, how it should be considered, and if it is, even in part, a social construct. From a moral perspective, the contributors question if being “natural” is itself of value or if its worth is only as a means to advance other morally acceptable ends. Politically, essays discuss whether appeals to nature can and should affect public policy and, if so, whether they are moral trump cards or should instead be fitted alongside or weighed against other concerns. Achieving consensus on these questions has proven elusive and seems unattainable. This should not, however, be an obstacle to moving the debate forward. By bringing together disparate approaches to addressing these concepts, The Ideal of Nature suggests the possibility of intermediate positions that move beyond the usual full-throated defense and blanket dismissal found in much of the debate. Scholars of bioethics, environmental philosophy, religious studies, sociology, public policy, and political theory will find much merit in this book’s lively discussion.
Making Life and Death Decisions after Terri Schiavo
Every day, thousands of people quietly face decisions as agonizing as those made famous in the Terri Schiavo case. Throughout that controversy, all kinds of people--politicians, religious leaders, legal and medical experts--made emphatic statements about the facts and offered even more certain opinions about what should be done. To many, courts were either ordering Terri's death by starvation or vindicating her constitutional rights. Both sides called for simple answers. ###If That Ever Happens to Me# details why these simple answers were not right for Terri Schiavo and why they are not right for end-of-life decisions today.