From Associate Director Carol Pollard
*Carolyn Braza is now a web analyst at Maja Image Baseball Advanced Media (Congratulations Carolyn!)
*Caroline Seery is now studying to be a physician assistant at DeSales University (Congratulations Caroline!)
*Lesley Chuang writes: “I have been meaning to send you a note as I am now working in Boston at a mid-size litigation firm and would love to connect with anyone who is in the area. Please send me an email if you would like to have coffee and talk about bioethics, law, or life generally! My email is email@example.com, and my Linkedin is www.linkedin.com/in/lesleychuang. Thanks :)” (Thanks for the update Lesley! I hope you will have a great “reunion” in Boston!)
*David Tolley is celebrating four years at the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, MA. (Congratulations David! Maybe you should contact Lesley! See above!)
*Theodora Kwok writes: “Just thought I'll add to Rachel Teo's update of last week on what we've been up to here in sunny Singapore. Nancy (Berlinger), Michael (Gusmano) and Jacob (Moses) from The Hastings Center, along with Mikey Dunn from The Ethox Centre, joined us as speakers/ facilitators, as they are the main team behind the casebook, at our recent conference that launched Making Difficult Decisions with Patients & Families: A Singapore Casebook. This is an online casebook (www.bioethicscasebook.sg) that was developed with ethics education for clinicians in mind, either to be used as a tool in teaching or even for visiting physicians to have a feel of the social/ cultural landscape in medical practice here in Singapore. The conference was very well received, and we were pleasantly surprised with the larger than expected turn out! I think bioethics/ medical ethics might just be getting the attention it needs here in Singapore, definitely no complaints here! You will be pleased to hear that Andy Sim is a contributor to the commentaries in the casebook! I promise I'll try to get a picture of all of us (Zohar Lederman, Andy Sim, Rachel Teo & myself) together at the next such event, a representative of every year since 2010. In the meantime, I'm continuing my research position on the CENTRES (Clinical Ethics Network for Training, Research, and Support) project, and shall attempt to better encourage inter-institute discussion and training in clinical ethics consultations. I also plan to apply for my PhD to start in 2015, perhaps looking into the ethical obligations of healthcare insurance providers in the Singapore financing framework, but as usual, my heart is hardly still for only one topic, so we'll really have to see what I end up exploring.” (Good Luck Theodora! I decided to put in a photo that Rachel previously sent from the Conference. I’ll be on the lookout for the Casebook!) (Please click here for the photo.)
*The Hastings Center is announcing an opening for a Research Assistant. Application deadline is this weekend! (Sorry, I just found out about this possibility.) Please click here to see the job description.
*Greg Kaebnick of The Hastings Center has a new book out: “Humans in Nature: The World as We Find It and The World as We Create It.” This book explores the intrinsic value of nature in polarized debates about environmental preservation, GMOs, synthetic biology, and human enhancement. (Congratulations Greg!) For more information, please click here.
*Unite For Sight is announcing the inauguration of its free online webinar series with leading experts in global health and social entrepreneurship will be held on February 12, 2-3 pm EST, with Lakshmi Karan, PhD, Senior Advisor, Global Strategies and Impact Assessment at The Hero Group. The title of Dr. Karan’s talk is “Innovation to Impact the Importance of a Strategic Framework to Support Growth.” For more information, please see: http://www.uniteforsight.org
*“New Guinean Kids Are Not Brats,” Jared Diamond, The New York Times Magazine, January 12, 2014 (Jared Diamond on the topic “what we can learn from traditional societies”)
*Dr. Edward Gabriele, Distinguished Professor, Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences brought this story to our attention: “This morning's ABC News contained an amazingly rich article on the ethos of what we do in our lives personally and professionally. It asks even more deeply "who are we really?" It is entitled: "Family Promise Gave Life to Man in 31-Year Coma" The article is found here. And please click here for Dr. Gabriele’s response.
*Genetically-modified purple tomatoes heading for shops,” David Shukman, Science Editor, BBC News
*For those of you who have been asking about my husband Harry’s recovery from shoulder replacement surgery, I’m attaching this photo of him and Sammy, a 12-week-old bulldog who resides with a friend of ours. Harry is now able to use his shoulder for other things besides lifting weights in physical therapy! Thank you all for your good wishes for his speedy recovery. Please click here for the photo.
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Monday, February 3
Zigler Center Lecture
Time: 9 AM
Location: 230 S Frontage Rd, Cohen Auditorium
Speaker: Pia Rebello Britto, Senior Advisor for Early Childhood Development at UNICEF Headquarters
Topic: The Global Situation of Early Childhood Development: Rights, Programs and Policies
Physics Club Talk
Time: 4 PM
Location: 217 Prospect St, room 57
Speaker: Steven Koonin, CUSP@NYU
Topic: The Promise of Urban Science
Tuesday, February 4
Order, Conflict, and Violence Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 115 Prospect St, room 005
Speaker: Scott Strauss, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Topic: Making and Unmaking Nations: The Origins of Genocide and Mass Categorical Violence in Contemporary Africa
Wednesday, February 5
School of Forestry Lecture
Time: 12 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Speaker: Holmes Hummel, Former Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Policy & International Affairs
Topic: Answering the Calls of Our Time: Insights of interdisciplinary scholarship that can illuminate paths to action on climate change
Thursday, February 6
Humanities in Medicine Lecture
Time: 5 PM
Location: 300 Cedar St, Anlyan Auditorium
Speaker: Peter Meineck, Associate Professor of Classics, Center for Ancient Studies, NYU
Topic: Ancient Trauma/Modern Warriors: Greek Drama and the Psychology of War
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3rd Annual Conference on Medicine & Religion
Responding to the Limits and Possibilities of the Body
March 7-9, 2014
Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, IL
Early Registration Deadline Extended: Monday, February 3rd
Medicine exists because of the limits and frailties of the human body, as well as its possibilities; and medicine is shaped by what we expect the body to be and do. As such, health care practices depend on and display answers to important questions about human embodiment: To whom does the body belong? How is one's body related to oneself? What is a normal human body? What, if anything, does the human body tell us about how medicine should respond to bodily suffering and death? What kind of knowledge about human embodiment can science give, vis-à-vis the great religions? Keynote Speakers: Baruch Brody, Rice University; Arthur W. Frank, University of Calgary; Ingrid Mattson, Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario; Allen Verhey, Duke Divinity School. Read more about our Keynote Speakers by clicking here. Listen to audio recordings from last year's conference by clicking here. For more information, please visit: www.MedicineAndReligion.com. Conference Sponsors: Program on Medicine and Religion, University of Chicago; Institute for Spirituality and Health, Texas Medical Center; Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis University. This conference is sponsored in part by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. REGISTER HERE.
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Dangerousness & Involuntary Treatment: An Applied Ethics Workshop
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
University of Pennsylvania, Claudia Cohen Hall, Terrace Room, 249 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
What is the relationship between mental illness and violence? When is a person with a mental illness a danger to the public? What are the professional responsibilities of behavioral healthcare practitioners in determining dangerousness and committing patients to treatment? In the wake of several national tragedies, these questions loom large; ethics, legal and clinical experts will address them in this workshop. At the conclusion of this conference, participants should be able to: Discuss the clinical, ethical, and legal dimensions of assessing dangerousness for patients with mental illness; Describe the ethical and legal dimensions of outpatient commitment; Discuss the ethical challenges of balancing public safety and patient autonomy. The Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Healthcare is dedicated to applied research and scholarship in all areas of behavioral healthcare ethics. Housed at the University of Pennsylvania, in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, The ScattergoodEthics Program is a regional and national effort that welcomes all those active in the field of behavioral healthcare. $60 - CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. CEU credits in psychology and social work are available for an additional $30 charge. Approval of continuing education credits for attorneys is pending.
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The First Annual Conference on the Ethics of War will take place April 4-5, 2014 at Villanova University. This conference is a collaboration between Villanova and the US Military Academy. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.
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DESIGNING FOR SUCCESS: Ecological Restoration in Times of Change
April 25 & 26, 2014, Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.
Sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and the Conway School's Master of Science in Ecological Design Program
At this conference, we will discuss many aspects of ecological restoration in times of change, with the general theme of designing for success, including a broad range of ecological restoration projects from small isolated sites to broad regional landscapes. Likely topics: Urban ecological restoration; Restoration of wetland systems; Forest restoration; Grassland restoration; River and stream restoration; Native and invasive species; Restoration targets; Restoration techniques; Evaluating the success of restoration projects; Restoration and climate change; Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and First Nations perspective on ecological restoration; Case studies in ecological restoration. Don’t miss this important conference for professionals, students and others interested in restoration. Learn about grants and other opportunities for students here. We want students to come! Get other information visit our website or drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org We are looking forward to seeing you!
The American College Center for Ethics in Financial Services is seeking a Fellow to work in the field of business ethics. Specifically, we are looking for a Masters or Post-doctoral level researcher to perform the following tasks: Examine the ethical issues faced by financial services practitioners in their daily practice; Investigate strategies for developing and maintaining an ethical culture in the financial services industry, as well as overcoming obstacles to this project; Study the ethical implications of public policy and regulatory initiatives; Produce case studies, articles and other materials necessary to the production of Center for Ethics' Workshops, Retreats and Publications. Acceptance of this position does not require relocation to the Philadelphia area, although visits to Bryn Mawr may be required throughout the course of the Fellowship. The term of the Fellowship is for one year with the possibility of renewal. Applications will be reviewed until position is filled. For more information about the Center for Ethics, please see our website at http://ethics.theamericancollege.edu/. Questions and applications: Candidates should send their CV, a writing sample and a letter of interest to: Julie Ragatz, Director, Center for Ethics in Financial Services at The American College, 270 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. Phone: 610-526-1354 Fax: 610-526-1359 Email: email@example.com.
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Announcing the 2014 Byron Fellowship(s), an interdisciplinary course in leadership and sustainable community development that uniquely engages participants through place-based learning. This year we are proud to announce the opening of a new program at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Our inaugural North Carolina program will take place August 3-8, and our 11th annual Indiana program will run May 26-31 at Turkey Run State Park in Parke County. With the addition of the North Carolina program, we have doubled the spots available for fellows, and this year more than ever, your support is critical for making Byron a success. Please take a moment NOW to nominate a fellow here: http://www.byronfellowship.org/participate/nominate/. Each Byron Fellowship program is available to twenty upper class undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates from throughout the world by application. Prospective fellows are evaluated based on their demonstrated academic, civic, and professional leadership. Strong attention is paid toward crafting every Fellowship with diversity capable of supporting a holistic exploration of sustainability. More information is available at www.byronfellowship.org.Back to top
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In the News
Kelland, Kate. Scientists Hail Breakthrough in Embryonic-Like Stem Cells. Reuters. 29 January 2014.
In experiments that could open a new era in stem cell biology, scientists have found a simple way to reprogram mature animal cells back into an embryonic-like state that allows them to generate many types of tissue. The research, described as game-changing by experts in the field, suggests human cells could in future be reprogrammed by the same technique, offering a simpler way to replace damaged cells or grow new organs for sick and injured people. Continue reading...
Carey, Benedict. The Older Mind May Just Be A Fuller Mind. The New York Times. 27 January 2014.
People of a certain age (and we know who we are) don’t spend much leisure time reviewing the research into cognitive performance and aging. The story is grim, for one thing: Memory’s speed and accuracy begin to slip around age 25 and keep on slipping. But it’s not so much that the mental faculties of older people are rapidly declining, it’s that their databases are fuller, a new study suggests. Continue reading...
Pollack, Andrew. Genetic Weapon Against Insects Raises Hope and Fear In Farming. The New York Times. 27 January 2014.
Scientists and biotechnology companies are developing what could become the next powerful weapon in the war on pests — one that harnesses a Nobel Prize-winning discovery to kill insects and pathogens by disabling their genes. By zeroing in on a genetic sequence unique to one species, the technique has the potential to kill a pest without harming beneficial insects. That would be a big advance over chemical pesticides. But some specialists fear that releasing gene-silencing agents into fields could harm beneficial insects, especially among organisms that have a common genetic makeup, and possibly even human health. The controversy echoes the larger debate over genetic modification of crops that has been raging for years. Continue reading...
Fruit Fly Brothers Tend To Cooperate. The New York Times. 24 January 2014.
In pursuit of a mate, male fruit flies often engage in combat, battling one another with their front legs. But when the flies are brothers, they are more likely to cooperate, researchers are reporting. Exposing female flies to different sets of males, researchers found the most peaceful groups contained the most brothers. Continue reading...
Castillo, Michelle. More Than One-Fourth of American Families Faced Financial Burden Due To Medical Costs. CBS News. 29 January 2014. More than one out of four American families -- 26.8 percent -- felt a financial squeeze because of medical bills during 2012, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed. The findings showed that nearly 9 percent of families currently couldn't make their payments, and a total of 16.5 percent had faced financial issues stemming from medical costs in the previous year. More than one-fifth of those surveyed said they were still paying off a medical bill that had been split into payments over time. Continue reading...
Span, Paula. A Decision Deferred: Turning Off The Pacemaker. The New York Times. 29 January 2014.
Nobody really knows exactly how many Americans are walking around with pacemakers and defibrillators. But with surgeons implanting at least 225,000 pacemakers and 133,000 defibrillators each year, “there probably are a couple of million” out there now, said Dr. Paul S. Mueller, a Mayo Clinic general internist and bioethicist. The devices prolong lives, but “all those people will face decisions down the road,” Dr. Mueller said. “’Do I keep it going? Do I turn it off?’” Physicians have similar questions, including what kinds of patients confront these choices and who usually winds up making these decisions. Continue reading...
Grady, Denise. Responding to Critics, Gynecology Board Reverses Ban On Treating Male Patients. The New York Times. 30 January 2014.
After months of protest from doctors and patients, a professional group that certifies obstetrician-gynecologists has lifted a ban it imposed in September and now says its members are free to treat men. Continue reading...
J&J Sets New Pharma Standard For Sharing Clinical Trial Data. PMLive. 31 January 2014.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has enlisted Yale University to review requests from researchers to access clinical data held by its pharma business Janssen. Yale, through its Yale School of Medicine's Open Data Access (YODA), will act as an independent body to review and make final decisions regarding all requests for Janssen's clinical trial data for its treatments, including clinical study reports (CSRs) and de-identified patient-level data. It is the first time a pharma company has taken the step to introduce a third party as an independent reviewer as pressure grows on the industry to improve transparency of drug data following concerns that some drugs, such as Roche's Tamiflu, were not as effective as their manufacturers claimed. Continue reading...
Miller, Tracy. Would You Get The Flu For $3K? Gov’t Seeks Volunteers For Influenza Research. NY Daily News. 30 January 2014.
Get the flu on purpose, get paid $3,000 for your troubles. If that seems like a fair trade, you might be just the person to enlist in the National Institutes of Health's research project. The government's biomedical research agency is seeking hale and hardy volunteers to have the influenza virus squirted up their nose, in order to investigate how the immune system reacts to each stage of the infection. Continue reading...
Chang, Kenneth. Beings Not Made For Space. The New York Times. 27 January 2014.
In space, heads swell. A typical human being is about 60 percent water, and in the free fall of space, the body’s fluids float upward, into the chest and the head. Legs atrophy, faces puff, and pressure inside the skull rises. The human body did not evolve to live in space. And how that alien environment changes the body is not a simple problem, nor is it easily solved. Continue reading...
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In the Journals
Giordana, James. Deliver us from evil? The temptation,
realities, and neuroethico-legal issues of employing assessment
neurotechnologies in public safety initiatives. Theoretical Medicine and
Bioethics. 2014.In light of the
recent events of terrorism and publicized cases of mass slayings and serial
killings, there have been calls from the public and policy-makers alike for
neuroscience and neurotechnology (neuroS/T) to be employed to intervene in ways
that define and assess, if not prevent, such wanton acts of aggression and
violence. Ongoing advancements in assessment neuroS/T have enabled heretofore
unparalleled capabilities to evaluate the structure and function of the brain,
yet each and all are constrained by certain technical and practical
limitations. In this paper, we present an overview of the capabilities and
constraints of current assessment neuroS/T, address neuro-ethical and legal
issues fostered by the use and potential misuse of these approaches, and
discuss how neuroethics may inform science and the law to guide right and sound
applications of neuroS/T to "deliver us from evil" while not being
led into temptations of ampliative claims and inapt use. Continuereading…
Illes, Judy. Technical creep, vertigo, and policy for
brain intervention. The Lancet Neurology. January 2014.
The book has its anchor points in
two concepts that have recently been in play in neuroscience and ethics:
technological creep and technological vertigo. These concepts depict the
creeping penetration of neurotechnology into a dizzying array of applications
in today's society, in both healthy populations and those with brain disorders.
The concepts relate to the expansive scope of contemporary interventions for the
brain that author Robert Blank reviews for his readers, and to their current
and imagined applications. Blank's chapters cover a range of topics: addiction,
sex differences, and aggression; politics; social behaviour; public policy,
media, and military applications; and even the ways in which neurotechnology
interfaces with death. Continuereading…
Loi, Michele. You cannot have your normal functioning
cake and eat it too.. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2013
Given the morally disastrous
history of eugenics, one might have thought that contemporary advocates of
genetic human enhancement would be especially mindful of the historical
resonances of the arguments they put forward. Two aspects of Paula Casal's
defence of enhancement against my recent criticisms are therefore more than a
little surprising. First, her hypothetical case for sex selection for 'moral
enhancement' relies on claims drawn from sociobiology and evolutionary psychology,
which are at best controversial and at worst represent pseudo-scientific
rationalisations for contemporary social prejudices. Second, despite her
protestations, her fundamental objection to my original point-that advocates of
enhancement are committed by the logic of their argument to the conclusion that
parents should choose girl children-relies upon the idea that parents have a
moral obligation to have children that will serve the interests of the nation
rather than will have the best expected welfare. This is a long way from
Savulescu's original argument for 'procreative beneficence' and opens the door
to a whole series of politically dangerous arguments for a Brave New World. Continue reading…
White, Bruce D. Structuring a Written Examination to
Assess ASBH Health Care Ethics Consultation Core Knowledge Competencies.
American Journal of Bioethics. January 2014.
As clinical ethics consultants move
toward professionalization, the process of certifying individual consultants or
accrediting programs will be discussed and debated. With certification, some
entity must be established or ordained to oversee the standards and procedures.
If the process evolves like other professions, it seems plausible that it will
eventually include a written examination to evaluate the core knowledge
competencies that individual practitioners should possess to meet peer practice
standards. The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) has
published core knowledge competencies for many years that are accepted by
experts as the prevailing standard. Probably any written examination will be
based upon the ASBH core knowledge competencies. However, much remains to be
done before any examination may be offered. In particular, it seems likely that
a recognized examining board must create and validate examination questions and
structure the examination so as to establish meaningful, defensible parameters
after dealing with such challenging questions as: Should the certifying
examination be multiple choice or short-answer essay? How should the test be
graded? What should the pass rate be? How may the examination be best
administered? To advance the field of health care ethics consultation, thought
leaders should start to focus on the written examination possibilities, to date
unaddressed carefully in the literature. Continuereading…
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Sallinger, Jim. An insider’s story of the global attack on climate science. January 23, 2014.
A recent headline—“Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss”—marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly funded climate denial, the harassment of scientists, and a tying-up of valuable government resources in New Zealand. Continue reading…
Timmer, John. Climate scientist’s defamation suit allowed to go forward. January 26, 2014.
In July of 2012, the blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute compared one of the researchers at Penn State University to one of its football coaches. The comparison was not flattering, given the referenced coach had just been convicted of sexually abusing minors. That comparison was then echoed favorably by a blogger and columnist at the National Review. The scientist in question, climatologist Mike Mann, sued them all for defamation. Continue reading…
Timmer, John. Acid bath turns cells from any tissue into stem cells. January 30, 2014.
The development of human embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to form any cell in the body, may enable us to repair tissues damaged by injury or disease. Initially, these cells could only be obtained through methods that some deemed ethically unacceptable, but researchers eventually developed a combination of genes that could reprogram most cells into an embryonic-like state. That worked great for studies, but wasn't going to work for medical uses, since one of the genes involved has been associated with cancer. Continue reading…
Los Angeles Times
Morrison, Patt. What creationists and anti-vaxxers have in common. January 23, 2014.
The two stories don’t seem to have much to do with each other at first look: a rise in diseases such as measles and whooping cough in places with cheap, available vaccines, and charter schools using public money to teach creationism. Continue reading…
Editorial. A climate change of heart by the European Union? January 28, 2014.
Confronted by rising energy costs and international competition, the European Union’s executive body has recommended relaxing rules on renewable energy with a plan that doesn't hold specific nations responsible for specific targets. The EU's member states and Parliament should reject it. The EU has been the leader on fighting climate change; if it shies away from its commitment now, similar efforts in the U.S. and around the world will almost surely suffer. Continue reading…
Opinion. Counting the hidden victims of medicine. January 24, 2014.
What is the third leading cause of death in the developed world? Given that cancer and heart disease top the list, you might hazard a guess at diabetes, stroke or car accidents. You'd be wrong. The answer is "iatrogenic" deaths – those caused by medical errors, adverse drug reactions or hospital-acquired infections. Continue reading…
Cryan, John and Dinan, Timothy. Psychobiotics: How gut bacteria mess with your mind. January 29, 2014.
We have all experienced the influence of gut bacteria on our emotions. Just think how you felt the last time you had a stomach bug. Now it is becoming clear that certain gut bacteria can positively influence our mood and behaviour. The way they achieve this is gradually being uncovered, raising the possibility of unlocking new ways to treat neurobehavioural disorders such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Continue reading…
Opinion. Stem cell breakthrough could reopen clone wars. January 29, 2014.
It didn’t take long after Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996 for maverick scientists to start talking about cloning humans. Continue reading…
Little, Natasha. Why I’m sure human stem cell trial will be safe. January 30, 2014.
Later this year, you will make history when you begin the first ever human trial of induced pluripotent stem cells. Why is this such a big deal? Continue reading…
New York Times
Editorial. Even More Addictive Cigarettes. January 23, 2014.
It was a shock to learn from the latest surgeon general’s report that, because of changes in the design and composition of cigarettes, smokers today face a higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than smokers in 1964, despite smoking fewer cigarettes. It is equally shocking to learn now that some of today’s cigarettes may be more addictive than those smoked in past years, most likely because the manufacturers are designing them to deliver more nicotine to the lungs to induce and sustain addiction. That devious tactic requires a strong response by regulators. Continue reading…
Editorial. The Globalization of Pollution. January 24, 2014.
Emissions from Chinese factories that make goods for the American market are contributing to smog on the West Coast of the United States, according to a new study that shows the complexities of determining who is ultimately responsible for pollution that affects the entire planet. Continue reading…
Editorial. Contraception Before the Court. January 27, 2014.
In a disappointing order on Friday, the Supreme Court extended a temporary injunction barring the Obama administration from enforcing paperwork rules against a Colorado nuns’ group in connection with a federal law that requires employer health plans to cover birth control without a co-payment. Continue reading…
Editorial. Roadblocks on Health Reform. January 28, 2014.Back to top
Onerous restrictions imposed by Missouri on federally approved counselors who help people understand and enroll in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act have rightly been blocked by a federal district judge in Kansas City. Although the ruling by Judge Ortrie Smith applies only to Missouri, its reasoning applies to similar laws or regulations adopted by more than a dozen Republican-led states that are doing their best to sabotage health care reform. Continue reading…
Please visit our website at www.yale.edu/bioethics.