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Back Issues and Articles
Back Issues and Articles

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
ASLME - [PDF] (Free Download)
Table of Contents
Letter From the Editor
Letter From The Editor

Letter From The Editor
Symposium Articles
Introduction De-ning the Beginning and the End of Human Life: Implications for Ethics, Policy, and Law
Robert M. Sade - [PDF]

Introduction De-ning the Beginning and the End of Human Life: Implications for Ethics, Policy, and Law
"Life Begins When They Steal Your Bicycle": Cross-Cultural Practices of Personhood at the Beginnings and Ends of Life
Lynn M. Morgan - [PDF]

This paper examines two reasons anthropologi-cal expertise has recently come to be considered relevant to American debates about the beginnings and ends of life. First, bioethicists and clinicians working to accommodate diverse perspectives into clinical decision-making have come to appreciate the importance of culture. Second, anthropologists are the recognized authorities on the cultural logic and behaviors of the "Other." Yet the de-nitions of culture with which bioethicists and clinicians oper-ate may differ from those used by contemporary anthropologists, who view culture as a contingent, contested set of social practices that are continually formulated and re-negotiated in daily interactions. Using ethnographic examples, the author argues that the qualities that constitute "personhood" should be sought in social practices rather than in cognitive capacities or moral attributes.
Abortion and the Beginning and End of Human Life
Don Marquis - [PDF]

The doctrine that it is wrong to end the existence of something because it is a human life (unless special circumstances obtain) I call "the standard view." I argue that attempts by proponents of abortion choice to avoid the implications of the standard view by suggesting that we don't know when life begins or by suggesting that fetuses are only potential lives fail. Nevertheless, opponents of abortion choice should not base their arguments on the standard view, for the standard view is false. I propose a substitute for the standard view that avoids the dif-culties with it, that explains why most people believe that the standard view is true and that also underwrites opposition to abortion choice.
The Morality of Killing Human Embryos
Bonnie Steinbock - [PDF]

The morality of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) depends on the moral status of human embryos. I defend the interest view against some of Don Marquis's objections, and show that on his own Valuable Futures account, ESCR is morally permissible.
The Whole-Brain Concept of Death Remains Optimum Public Policy
James L. Bernat - [PDF]

"Brain death," the determination of human death by showing the irreversible loss of all clinical func-tions of the brain, has become a worldwide practice. A biophilosophical account of brain death requires four sequential tasks: (1) agreeing on the paradigm of death, a set of preconditions that frame the dis-cussion; (2) determining the de-nition of death by making explicit the consensual concept of death; (3) determining the criterion of death that proves the de-nition has been ful-lled by being both neces-sary and suf-cient for death; and (4) determining the tests of death for physicians to employ at the patient's bedside to demonstrate that the criterion of death has been ful-lled. The best de-nition of death is "the cessation of functioning of the organism as a whole." The whole-brain criterion is the only crite-rion that is both necessary and suf-cient for death. Brain death tests are used only in the unusual case in which a patient's ventilation is being supported. Brain death critics have identi-ed weaknesses in its formulation. But despite its shortcomings, the whole-brain death formulation comprises a concept and public policy that make intuitive and practi-cal sense and that has been well accepted by many societies.
An Alternative to Brain Death
Jeff McMahan - [PDF]

This article criticizes a range of assumptions that proponents of brain death usually share. It argues that one of the main contentions made in defense of brain death - that the brain is necessary for integrated functioning in a human organism - is mistaken. It then sketches an alternative account of human death that distinguishes between the biologi-cal death of a human organism and the death or ceasing to exist of a person.
Moral Status, Human Identity, and Early Embryos: A Critique of the President's Approach
David DeGrazia - [PDF]

Underlying President Bush's view regarding stem-cell research and cloning are two assumptions: we originate at conception, and we have full moral status as soon as we originate. I will challenge both assumptions, argue that at least the second is mis-taken, and conclude that the President's approach is unsustainable.
Owning up to our Agendas: On the Role and Limits of Science in Debates about Embryos and Brain Death
George Khushf - [PDF]

The ethical issues integral to embryo research and brain death are intertwined with comprehensive views of life that are not explicitly discussed in most policy debate. I consider three representative views - a naturalist, romantic, and theist - and show how these might inform the way practical ethical issues are addressed. I then consider in detail one in-u-ential argument in embryo research that attempts to bypass deep values. I show that this twinning argument is deeply -awed. It presupposes natural-ist commitments that are at issue in the embryo research debate, and exhibits a blindness to alterna-tive philosophical viewpoints. By considering the work of Hans Driesch, the discoverer of the facts of embryology integral to the twinning argument, I show how the twinning facts are compatible with romantic and theistic accounts that afirm full moral status for the early embryo. While these alternative interpretations might have a tenuous status in cur-rent scientific debate, they should be respected in ethical and policy debate.
Independent Articles
Transforming Public Health Law: The Turning Point Model State Public Health Act
James G. Hodge, Jr., Lawrence O. Gostin, Kristine Gebbie, Deborah L. Erickson - [PDF]

Law is an essential tool for improving public health infrastructure and outcomes; however, existing state statutory public health laws may be insuf-cient. Built over decades in response to various diseases/conditions, public health laws are anti-quated, divergent, and confusing. The Turning Point Public Health Statute Modernization National Collaborative addressed the need for public health law reform by producing a comprehensive model state act. The Act provides scienti-cally, ethically, and legally sound provisions on public health infra-structure, powers, duties, and practice. This article examines (1) how statutory law can be a tool for improving the public's health, (2) existing needs for public health law reform, (3) themes and provisions of the Turning Point Act, and (4) how it is being used by public health practitioners.
The New International Health Regulations: An Historic Development for International Law and Public Health
David P. Fidler, Lawrence O. Gostin - [PDF]

The adoption of the new International Health Regulations (IHR) in May 2005 represents an his-toric development for international law and publichealth. This article describes the IHR revision pro-cess and analyzes why the new IHR constitute an advance in global health governance.
Physician Participation in Executions: Care Giver or Executioner?
Peter A. Clark - [PDF]

The "medicalization" of the death penalty has ignit-ed a debate, by those within the medical profession and by others outside it, about the appropriateness of physicians participating in state-sponsored execu-tions. Physicians participating as "agents" of the State in executions argue that their presence ensures a more humane execution. Opponents argue physi-cian participation violates the Hippocratic Oath which states clearly that physicians should never do harm to anyone. How any physician, who is dedi-cated to "preserving life when there is hope," can argue that taking the life of a healthy person because the state commands it is in the patient's best inter-est, and does not con-ict with the goals of medicine is beyond comprehension. Physician participation in executions is unethical because it violates the four basic principles that govern medical ethics: respect for persons, bene-cence, nonmale-cence, and justice.
Conflict over Conflicts of Interest: An Analysis of the New NIH Rules
Jennifer L. Gold - [PDF]

Concern over research integrity at the NIH led to the adoption of strict con-ict of interest rules in 2005. An outcry from NIH scientists followed. This paper analyzes the legal and ethical issues raised by the new rules, and suggests potential areas for modi-cation.
commentary Face Transplant: Real and Imagined Ethical Challenges
Tia Powell - [PDF]

Ethical lapses associated with the -rst facial trans-plant included breaches of con-dentiality, bending of research rules, and -lm deals. However, discus-sions of the risk-bene-t ratio for face transplanta-tion are often de-cient in that they ignore the needs, experience, and decision-making capability of potential recipients.
Currents in Contemporary Ethics
Cheryl Erwin, Robert Philibert - [PDF]

Currents in Contemporary Ethics
The Ethical Health Lawyer
Joan H. Krause - [PDF]

The Ethical Health Lawyer
Reviews in Medical Ethics
Pamela Bluh - [PDF]

Reviews in Medical Ethics
Recent Developments in Health Law
Rochelle Lee and Juliana Han - [PDF]

Recent Developments in Health Law