Tag: criminal law

Bioethics Blogs

Combating Doping in Sports: More of the Same or What?

Guest Post: Bengt Kayser and Jan Tolleneer

Paper: Ethics of a relaxed antidoping rule accompanied by harm-reduction measures

Doping in sports continues to be prominently present in the media. Regularly ’scandals’ surface that then trigger flurries of articles, documentaries and reactions in the media. The general tone is one of moral opprobrium, dopers are considered deviant and bad. Frequently these episodes are accompanied by arguments for more means for repression of doping. These efforts, in principle coordinated by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), aim at eradicating doping from sports.

Doping is  considered cheating and dopers are bad. But despite increasing means doping remains rife, leading to what some call an arms race in a war on doping. Anti-doping still continues to cling to its essentialist objective, getting rid of this behaviour, even though it appears increasingly clear that this objective cannot be reached. Already today athletes have to comply with exceptional rules, such as the obligation to inform about their whereabouts 365 days a year in order to allow in and out of competition unannounced urine and blood sampling for anti-doping controls. But calls for more means and more repression resound. Increasingly countries, pressurized by the International Olympic Committee and WADA, introduce criminal law to repress doping, in several countries also applicable to non-athletes.

But repression of human behaviour comes with a cost. Prohibition of alcohol in the USA in the first part of the last century is good example, as is the so-called war on drugs. Like the latter, anti-doping also has unintended side-effects and it is possible that the overall societal cost of anti-doping may surpass the positive effects of anti-doping.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Health Law at AALS 2017

Next week, in San Francisco, there is a plethora of health law related programming at the 111th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools.



THURSDAY, JAN 5


Health Law and Health Equity
8:30 am – 10:15 am
Continental Ballroom 5, Ballroom Level, Hilton
Moderator and Speaker: Elizabeth Pendo, Saint Louis University School of Law
Speakers:
Daniel Dawes, Executive Director, Government Relations, Policy & External Affairs, Morehouse School of Medicine
Dayna B. Matthew, University of Colorado Law School
Courtney Anderson, Georgia State University College of Law 
Medha D. Makhlouf, The Pennsylvania State University – Dickinson Law


Health Insurance and Access to Healthcare After the Affordable Care Act
10:30 am – 12:15 pm
Continental Ballroom 5, Ballroom Level, Hilton
Moderator: Allison K. Hoffman, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Speakers:
Brietta R. Clark, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles 
Mark A. Hall, Wake Forest University School of Law


The Affordable Care Act has significantly reshaped the landscape of private and public health insurance coverage and content. This panel will examine these changes and the effect on access to health care.


Children As Decisionmakers: Legal, Social, and Scientific Perspectives
1:30 pm – 3:15 pm
Continental Parlor 1, Ballroom Level, Hilton
Moderator: Annette R. Appell, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
Speakers:
Emily Buss, The University of Chicago, The Law School 
Jonathan Todres, Georgia State University 
College of Law 
Marina Tolou-Shams, Associate Professor, In Residence,University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Charisa Kiyô Smith, University of Wisconsin Law School


How should the law reflect and incorporate our evolving understanding of what it means to be a child?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Is “sanctity of life” a useful concept?

In increasingly heated debates over abortion and euthanasia, pro-lifers cling doggedly to the concept of “the sanctity of life”. This has been under attack for years by utilitarian philosophers, notably Princeton’s Peter Singer. In a 2005 article Singer went so far as to contend that “During the next 35 years, the traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological, and demographic developments. By 2040, it may be that only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will defend the view that every human life, from conception to death, is sacrosanct.”

You might think that Singer’s withering prediction would be countered with a robust defence by Catholic bioethicists. However, in a controversial article in The New Bioethics, David Albert Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, in the UK, suggests that the term “sanctity of life” is so woolly that it should be scrapped. He says that Singer and others are attacking a straw man created by his buddies. “The connotations of this language are part of a deliberate attempt to distract from fundamental issues of justice, solidarity and human rights and falsely to imply that the legal protection which is due to vulnerable human beings is based only on religious sentiment.”

In a very interesting analysis of the term, Jones points out that Christian philosophers and theologians almost never used the term until the 1970s. It was only with the publication in 1957 of a book by Welsh legal scholar Glanville Williams, The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law, that it gained currency.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Further Clarity on Co-operation and Morality

Guest Post: David S. Oderberg, University of Reading

Full Paper: Further Clarity on Co-operation and Morality

The 2014 US Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was a landmark case on freedom of religion and conscience in the USA. The so-called ‘contraceptive mandate’ of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) requires employers to provide health insurance cover for contraception used by their employees. The Green family (Evangelical Christian), owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores, challenged the mandate as they objected to providing cover for at least those methods of contraception that are abortifacient. They were joined by the Hahn family (Mennonite Christian), owners of a furniture company.

The case wound up at the Supreme Court, where the majority, led by Alito J, agreed with the plaintiffs. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 1993, the plaintiffs were ‘substantially burdened’ in their exercise of religious freedom. They sincerely believed that by providing insurance cover that violated their religious and moral beliefs, they would be complicit in sinful behaviour. Violation of the RFRA, the court decided, meant the plaintiffs were entitled to an ‘accommodation’ or ‘opt-out’ of the contraceptive mandate.

The case is remarkable for a number of reasons. Conscientious objection is not new to the courts, particularly as regards service in war. Nor is Hobby Lobby unusual for recognising that a legal person such as a corporation can have its freedom of religion violated in virtue of what its owners/executives are required to do by law. After all, the contraceptive mandate already exempted churches and other purely religious bodies.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Employment Opportunity: Law School Faculty, University of Nevada, Las Vegas-William S. Boyd School of Law

August 2, 2016

University of Nevada, Las Vegas-William S. Boyd School of Law invites applications from entry-levels and laterals. The Boyd School of Law is a leading public law school with a reputation for a strong commitment to scholarship and teaching. The law school’s state-of-the-art facilities are located in the center of the UNLV campus.  UNLV is the state’s largest comprehensive doctoral degree granting institution, including a new medical school.  Applicants for law school faculty positions should submit a letter of interest along with a detailed resume, at least three professional references, and cites or links to published works. We anticipate hiring as many as three new faculty colleagues, although of course the number of available positions is contingent on funding. We invite applications from scholars in all subject areas, and are especially interested in deepening our strengths in the areas of Criminal Law, Business/Commercial Law, Health Law, and Legal Writing. We are also especially interested in hearing from professors who are interested in teaching a clinic. With respect to our clinics and legal writing program, please note that UNLV has a unified tenure track; accordingly, professors who teach clinics or legal writing have all of the privileges and scholarly expectations that are associated with tenure. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and appointments would likely begin with the 2017-2018 academic year.
Contact:  Please send application materials to the Appointments Committee Coordinator, Ms. Annette Mann, Faculty Appointments Committee, UNLV—Boyd School of Law, 4505 South Maryland Parkway – Campus Box 451003, Las Vegas, NV  89154-1003 or by email to annette.mann@unlv.edu

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Should Russian athletes really be banned from competing in the Rio Olympics?

Julian Savulescu

Originally posted in The Conversation 

The audience vote is a resounding yes, all Russian track and field athletes should be banned from competing. But is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) justified in giving individual sports federations the right to decide whether athletes can participate in Rio 2016?

In the run-up to the IOC’s decision, anti-doping leaders from 14 countries signed an open letter demanding the Russians’ exclusion. A petition calling for the whole team to be banned was closing in on its aim of 10,000 signatures, while another arguing against a blanket ban had just managed eight.

The IOC decided to face the mob and take a more nuanced approach; it will allow each sporting federation to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to ban athletes in their discipline. Tennis players, who are regularly tested around the world, are in the clear, for instance, with cyclists set to follow.

But athletes in track and field are banned as a group, although individuals may compete as neutral athletes. Is this kind of “collective responsibility” – or “collective punishment” as Mikhail Gorbachev described it – fair?

Standards of evidence

There’s a genuine dilemma here and the situation is not nearly as clear everyone appears to think – and as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pretends.

In law, there are two standards of proof to determine guilt before punishment is inflicted.

In criminal law, this standard is of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard with evidence specific to the act by the individual in question.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Event: Courting Controversy?

This might be of interest to some readers:

Courting Controversy?  Recent Developments in Health Care Law

21 July 2016

Chancellors Hotel, Chancellors Way, Moseley Road, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6NN

This afternoon seminar examines some controversial recent developments in health care law and introduces two new books on law and medicine:

  • Margaret Brazier and Emma Cave Medicine, Patients and the Law (6th Edn) (Manchester UP, 2016)
  • Catherine Stanton and Hannah Quirk (eds), Criminalising Contagion: Legal and Ethical Challenges of Disease Transmission and the Criminal Law (Cambridge UP, 2016)

Participants will have the opportunity to discuss developments in the law and meet the authors and researchers from the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy (CSEP) informally.

Programme

13:30 – 14:00  Registration

14:00 – 14:30  Overview of recent developments (Margot Brazier and Emma Cave)

14:30 – 15:00  Protecting Vulnerable Patients (Emma Cave)

15:00 – 15:30  Criminalising Disease Transmission: Demands, Difficulties and Dangers (Hannah Quirk)

15:30  Tea

16:00 – 16:30  Patient Autonomy: Clinical Compulsion?  An Analysis of Montgomery and Doogan – Margot Brazier

16:30 – 17:00  Law Commission Recommendations on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards – Neil Allen

17:00  Open Discussion

17:30  Reception

This event is free and offered by the CSEP and the School of Law, University of Manchester.  Registration, however, is required.  Please reserve your place here.  For more information, email maureen.barlow[at]manchester.ac.uk

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Sexual Harm and Criminal Law

Elaine Craig  cautions against proposed alternatives to the criminal justice system for dealing with sexual violence that fail to address the underlying social problems of misogyny, gender hierarchy, and sex and gender discrimination.

__________________________________________

The current legal response to the social problem of sexual harm is located primarily in the criminal law. As recent media attention and public discourse has revealed, this is a system with many flaws. Primary among them is that the criminal justice process remains inhospitable, if not inhumane, to sexual assault complainants. In The Inhospitable Court I examine, through the use of trial transcripts, the ways in which the process of the criminal trial itself – its rituals – creates hierarchical conditions that can further traumatize those who turn to the state to respond to their experiences of non-consensual sex. These rituals include the scripted form of communication demanded of complainants, the physical setting of the courtroom itself, and the highly particularized manner in which complainants are required to recount their experiences.  Unfortunately, the impact of these hierarchical rituals is compounded by the reality that assessments of the credibility of complainants continue to be informed by gender based myths and stereotypes.

Self Portrait, Trauma Scars (2013) by Jane Fox

Given the inadequacies in our current legal response to sexual harm, increased attention to developing alternatives to the criminal justice system is unsurprising. Proposed alternative responses include a diverse spectrum of options including specialized sexual assault courts, restorative justice approaches, increased emphasis on the role of civil law as an avenue through which to provide survivors with access to justice and, in a recent post on Impact Ethics, a reconceptualization of sexual violence as a public health issue.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Canada Backpedals on Medical Aid in Dying

On April 14, Canada’s justice minister presented to the House of Commons a bill to govern medical assistance in dying. The bill did not follow the direction of the Supreme Court of Canada, which stated that competent, mentally ill people and people who do not have a terminal illness are eligible. Had the bill included such patients and had it followed the advice of a Special Joint Committee of the House and Commons and Senate also to include mature minors, then Canada would have been on track to enact one of the most permissive aid-in-dying laws in the world. But if this bill becomes law, constitutional challenge is likely.

Under the bill, patients are eligible for medical aid in dying if they are at least 18 years old, have a grievous and irremediable medical condition, and have made an informed and voluntary request. To prevent Canada from becoming a destination for medical tourism, patients must also qualify for government funded health care. 

The bill states that patients have a “grievous and irremediable” illness if they have a serious and incurable illness, disease, or disability and they are in an advanced state of irreversible decline. The serious and incurable ailment or state of decline causes enduring physical or intolerable psychological suffering that cannot be relieved by means that are acceptable to the patients. Further, their natural death is “reasonably foreseeable,” but without an estimate of the time remaining.

The bill proposes safeguards, which include having two practitioners, who can be physicians or nurse practitioners, serve as gatekeepers.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

‘Genetic sexual attraction’ could become issue for kids of sperm donors

The British press is a fathomless mine of lurid but thought-provoking, strange-but-true explorations of the dark side of the human condition. Last week’s revelation was published in a magazine called The New Day — a passionate incestuous romance between a 51-year-old British woman and her 32-year-old American son.

Kim West was studying in California when she had a child out of wedlock. She gave him up for adoption and turned to England. Nearly 30 years later she learned that her son Ben Ford wanted to contact her. When they met, they immediately felt an overwhelming sexual attraction. Ben ended up abandoning his wife and moving in with his mother. They live together and are considering having children.

Post-adoption romance is a poorly-understood but well-documented phenomenon. In 1980s an American adoption counsellor, Barbara Gonyo, coined the term “genetic sexual attraction”(GSA) for these passionate feelings. Two British psychologists interviewed several people in the grip of GSA who all described “a romantic ‘falling in love’, intense and explosive, sudden and almost irresistible”.

Since incest is not only taboo but illegal in most jurisdictions, people are reluctant to discuss it. However the psychologists estimated that such feeling are present about 50 percent of the time when siblings and parents are reunited. Their article was published 20 years ago in the British Journal of Medical Psychology (later renamed Psychology and Psychotherapy), so it is possible that the number of cases has increased.

In fact, as a sympathetic columnist for The (London) Telegraph pointed out, the use of anonymous sperm donation could cause a huge increase in the prevalence of GSA.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.