Marc Stein: Five Myths about Roe v. Wade

On 22 January 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Roe v. Wade, the abortion rights case that culminated in one of the most controversial legal rulings in the country’s history. Forty years later, numerous myths continue to circulate about the contents and meanings of Roe. Here are five of the most significant. Continue Reading Marc Stein: Five Myths about Roe v. Wade

Video: Trailer for ‘Death Row,’ a film by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian, included in their new book

View the trailer for the documentary film ‘Death Row,’ included in the new book by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian called ‘In This Timeless Time: Living and Dying on Death Row in America.’ Continue Reading Video: Trailer for ‘Death Row,’ a film by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian, included in their new book

Interview: Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian discuss Death Row in America

What is the difference between life and death? It has nothing to do with the crime or the criminal. It has far more to do with local politics (does the prosecutor think he can get some political advantage going for death rather than life or a term of years?), money (can the accused afford a lawyer and investigators who will do the same kind of work the prosecutor gets done automatically?), the location (most death sentences are handed down and carried out in the south, but not uniformly; in Texas, for example, a preponderance of the death sentences come from just three counties). And, finally, it depends on the composition of the appellate courts the year a particular case comes up: some panels are sticklers for justice; some are sticklers for going by the current rules. Sometimes justice and the rules are incompatible, and in capital cases, lives hang in the balance. Continue Reading Interview: Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian discuss Death Row in America

North Carolina’s eugenics history: Testimonies from victims (video)

Rock Center with Brian Williams airs a story about North Carolina’s history of state-ordered sterilizations, featuring audio recordings of social workers involved in the program that were uncovered in Johanna Schoen’s research on the subject in the 1990s. Continue Reading North Carolina’s eugenics history: Testimonies from victims (video)

Learn about and learn from Loving v Virginia

As a new documentary film about the Loving v. Virginia case appears, we look back to Fay Botham’s book for some of the religious and legal aspects of the case. Includes an excerpt from the book. Continue Reading Learn about and learn from Loving v Virginia

Guest post: Karey Harwood on Posthumous Reproduction

Today we welcome a guest post from Karey Harwood, author of The Infertility Treadmill: Feminist Ethics, Personal Choice, and the Use of Reproductive Technologies.  Here she ponders the bioethical issues surrounding a couple who want to use frozen sperm from their deceased son and an egg donor to become grandparents.  While the idea of posthumous… Continue Reading Guest post: Karey Harwood on Posthumous Reproduction

Reverby recalls discovery, Hadler puts Guatemala case in context

Earlier this week we posted lots of links to headlines about Susan Reverby’s discovery of U.S. medical experiments on nonconsenting Guatemalans in the 1940s. Today, she wrote in more detail about the discovery of this horrific medical history over at the Hastings Center’s Bioethics Forum: What might have been buried in an historical journal, however,… Continue Reading Reverby recalls discovery, Hadler puts Guatemala case in context

Karey Harwood: IVF Kids: Are They Really All Right?

On Monday the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to the biologist who helped develop in vitro fertilization (IVF). As a New York Times op-ed noted, the honoree is “a man who was reviled, in his time, as doing work that was considered the greatest threat to humanity since the atomic bomb.” Thirty-two years later,… Continue Reading Karey Harwood: IVF Kids: Are They Really All Right?

Susan Reverby Uncovers History of U.S. Medical Testing on Guatemalans

You’ve probably already heard: last Friday President Obama called President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala to apologize for a public health outrage committed 64 years ago.  In 1946, American doctors, with the support of the Public Health Service, conducted experiments on prisoners, the insane, soldiers, and prostitutes, who were initially used to infect the prisoners. Though… Continue Reading Susan Reverby Uncovers History of U.S. Medical Testing on Guatemalans

More talk, less action: toward sensible health care reform

Today I’m pleased to have a guest post from Lois Shepherd, author of If That Ever Happens to Me: Making Life and Death Decisions after Terri Shiavo. Shepherd was a lawyer living in Tallahassee during the sensational days of the Schiavo case. Her book strips away the politics and semantics that tend to oversimplify the… Continue Reading More talk, less action: toward sensible health care reform

Your Weekend To-Do List

Yes, you! Cool stuff happening this weekend. Radio, Internet, and Real-Life events that deserve your attention: Robert McElvaine on All Things Considered – Today, Friday, to discuss FDR’s letters from Americans and the letter-reading habit President Obama has picked up. I know, we teased you earlier in the week because we thought his conversation would… Continue Reading Your Weekend To-Do List

Harwood follows up on ethical issues at stake in the octuplets case

  We’ve had a lot of passionate responses to Karey Harwood’s recent guest post about the ethical issues surrounding the California octuplets case. Harwood gave some helpful responses for further reading in the comments thread to that post. Here, we’re pleased to have a follow-up post from her, in which she addresses the pressures on… Continue Reading Harwood follows up on ethical issues at stake in the octuplets case

An Idol from UNC – Chapel Hill

Yes, this is a blog posting about American Idol. I’m in charge of the blog for a while and I’m going to write about things that I think should be brought to the public’s attention.  And Anoop Desai is certainly one of those things. Back in a former life I was a Children’s Librarian in… Continue Reading An Idol from UNC – Chapel Hill

Ethics and the California octuplets case

When news about a woman who had given birth to octuplets last week first hit the airwaves, the story was that all had survived the premature Caesarean delivery, and the eighth kid was one doctors hadn’t even known was coming! Surprise! Within days, however, as we learned more about the birth family – that the… Continue Reading Ethics and the California octuplets case