Tag: publishing

Bioethics Blogs

Does Female Genital Mutilation Have Health Benefits? The Problem with Medicalizing Morality

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp)

Please note: this piece was originally published in Quillette Magazine.

 

Four members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam living in Detroit, Michigan have recently been indicted on charges of female genital mutilation (FGM). This is the first time the US government has prosecuted an “FGM” case since a federal law was passed in 1996. The world is watching to see how the case turns out.

A lot is at stake here. Multiculturalism, religious freedom, the limits of tolerance; the scope of children’s—and minority group—rights; the credibility of scientific research; even the very concept of “harm.”

To see how these pieces fit together, I need to describe the alleged crime.

* * *

The term “FGM” is likely to bring to mind the most severe forms of female genital cutting, such as clitoridectomy or infibulation (partial sewing up of the vaginal opening). But the World Health Organization (WHO) actually recognizes four main categories of FGM, covering dozens of different procedures.

One of the more “minor” forms is called a “ritual nick.” This practice, which I have argued elsewhere should not be performed on children, involves pricking the foreskin or “hood” of the clitoris to release a drop of blood.

Healthy tissue is not typically removed by this procedure, which is often done by trained clinicians in the communities where it is common. Long-term adverse health consequences are believed to be rare.

Here is why this matters. Initial, albeit conflicting reports suggest that the Dawoodi Bohra engage in this, or a similar, more limited form of female genital cutting – not the more extreme forms that are often highlighted in the Western media.

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

Does Female Genital Mutilation Have Health Benefits? The Problem with Medicalizing Morality

Does Female Genital Mutilation Have Health Benefits? The Problem with Medicalizing Morality

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp)

Please note: this piece was originally published in Quillette Magazine.

 

Four members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam living in Detroit, Michigan have recently been indicted on charges of female genital mutilation (FGM). This is the first time the US government has prosecuted an “FGM” case since a federal law was passed in 1996. The world is watching to see how the case turns out.

A lot is at stake here. Multiculturalism, religious freedom, the limits of tolerance; the scope of children’s—and minority group—rights; the credibility of scientific research; even the very concept of “harm.”

To see how these pieces fit together, I need to describe the alleged crime.

* * *

The term “FGM” is likely to bring to mind the most severe forms of female genital cutting, such as clitoridectomy or infibulation (partial sewing up of the vaginal opening). But the World Health Organization (WHO) actually recognizes four main categories of FGM, covering dozens of different procedures.

One of the more “minor” forms is called a “ritual nick.” This practice, which I have argued elsewhere should not be performed on children, involves pricking the foreskin or “hood” of the clitoris to release a drop of blood.

Healthy tissue is not typically removed by this procedure, which is often done by trained clinicians in the communities where it is common. Long-term adverse health consequences are believed to be rare.

Here is why this matters. Initial, albeit conflicting reports suggest that the Dawoodi Bohra engage in this, or a similar, more limited form of female genital cutting – not the more extreme forms that are often highlighted in the Western media.

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

Some Comments about Being a Philosopher of Color and the Reasons I Didn’t Write a (Real) Paper for this (Seemingly) Ideal Venue for my Work

by Sean A. Valles

ABSTRACT. This special issue conspicuously lacks work by Philosophers of Color (with the exception of this commentary). I have been given this opportunity to discuss the impediments that kept me from submitting my relevant work, offered as a small step toward recognizing the impediments faced by other Philosophers of Color. I highlight factors including direct and indirect consequences of a disproportionately White community of US philosophers, and some underrecognized risk-reward calculations that Philosophers of Color face when choosing an article project. I urge further discussion of the topic, starting with an exhortation to choose the right phenomenon and accordingly frame the right question: Why are White philosophers deliberating the “ethical and social issues arising out of the 2016 US presidential election” in a prestigious journal, while Philosophers of Color are deliberating the same issues in tense classrooms, closed offices, and on-/off-campus forums?

This is not a real article. But in this special issue on the 2016 US election and Trump it is, to my knowledge, the only contribution written by a Philosopher of Color. It is a commentary about the fact that it is the only contribution written by a Philosopher of Color.

After Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Kukla expressed consternation that the issue was full of excellent papers, but written by a roster of White philosophers, I offered to say something about why I didn’t submit any of my relevant philosophical work (on nativism, racism, health policy, Latinx health, etc.), and why it didn’t surprise me that almost none of the other well-qualified Philosophers of Color did either.

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

Editor-in-Chief Journal of Medical Ethics

The Institute of Medical Ethics and BMJ are looking for the next Editor-in-Chief who can continue to shape the Journal of Medical Ethics into a dynamic resource for a rapidly evolving field. Candidates should be active in the field, keen to facilitate international perspectives and maintain an awareness of trends and hot topics. The successful candidate will act as an ambassador for the journal supporting both pioneering authors and academics publishing their first papers. The candidate will also actively promote and strengthen the journal whilst upholding the highest ethical standards of professional practice. The editor will work with IME to promote research and scholarship in medical ethics and attend IME board meetings regularly.

International and joint applications are welcomed. Interviews will be held in December 2017. Term of office is five years; the role will take 12-15 hours a week. Contact Richard Sands (rsands@bmj.com) for more information and to apply with your CV and cover letter outlining your interest and your vision for the future development of the journal.

Application deadline: 31 October 2017; Interviews: December 2017

Start date: 1 June 2018 (handover from February 2018)

About Journal of Medical Ethics

Journal of Medical Ethics launched in 1975 and has since become a leading international journal that reflects the whole field of medical ethics. Publishing Original Research, Extended Essays, Current Controversies, Feature articles, Review articles and more, the journal is relevant to health care professionals, members of clinical ethics committees, medical ethics professionals, researchers and bioscientists, policy makers and patients.

The journal regularly publishes special collections on current hot topics and key conversations in the field including: Circumcision, DSM-5, Stem cell derived gametes and Withholding artificial nutrition & hydration.

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

Recapping the recent plagiarism scandal

Parts of the paper that are nearly identical to my blog

A year ago, I received a message from Anna Powell-Smith about a research paper that was a mirror image of a post I wrote on my personal blog1 roughly two years prior. The structure of the document was the same, as was the rationale, the methods, and the conclusions drawn. There were entire sentences that were identical to my post. Some wording changes were introduced, but the words were unmistakably mine. The authors had also changed some of the details of the methods, and in doing so introduced technical errors, which confounded proper replication. The paper had been press-released by the journal,2 and even noted by Retraction Watch.3

I checked my site’s analytics and found a record of a user from the University of Cambridge computer network accessing the blog post in question three times on 2015 December 7 and again on 2016 February 16, ten days prior to the original publication of the paper in question on 2016 February 26.4

At first, I was amused by the absurdity of the situation. The blog post was, ironically, a method for preventing certain kinds of scientific fraud. I was flattered that anyone noticed my blog at all, and I believed that academic publishing would have a means for correcting itself when the wrong people are credited with an idea. But as time went on, I became more and more frustrated by the fact that none of the institutions that were meant to prevent this sort of thing were working.

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

The Very Early Embryo & Its Moral Signifiance

by Andrew J. Prunty

As technology and biological research continue to develop in the twenty-first century, it is necessary to address and further define the ethical considerations of embryonic research and the appropriate rights that may limit the extent of human research on zygotes, blastocysts, and fetal scientific advancement. Because the area of harvesting embryonic stem cells remains significantly undefined, both legally and morally, there are vastly different opinions between researchers and bioethicists, mainly because of ethical limitations, on the rights that should be granted to cells with the potential to develop into human beings and the consequences of neglecting significant scientific research or advancement.

Current laws in the United States differ at the federal and state level, but there is no consistency in recognizing human embryos as humans, or affording them the same legal rights granted to a child; in fact, legal precedent actually detracts certain rights from developing embryos, favoring a human’s ability to destroy a potential human being (i.e. Roe v. Wade[i]) or the categorization of embryos as property (i.e. Davis v. Davis[ii], A.Z. v. B.Z.[iii], Marriage of Dahl[iv], or Reber v. Reiss[v]). These case law samples suggest the courts’ inability to reach a conclusion as to what is the status of an embryo.

The debate is not only circumscribed to matters of research, but to fundamental controversial and intertwined issues of bioethics such as: when life begins, embryonic stem cells, fetal rights, abortion, et cetera. All these topics are contentious and when one topic arises, they begin to comingle.

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

The Right to Die The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking – 2nd 2017 Supplement

For decades, Wolters Kluwer has been publishing an annual supplement for The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking.  This year, we are moving to a semi-annual plan.  So, there will soon be a second 2017 update, the “2017-2 Supplement.”


Highlights of this extra supplement cover the most recent legal developments—judicial cases, legislation, and news accounts of important legal proceedings that are not officially reported—concerning end-of-life decisionmaking. Some (and there are many more) specific important matters covered in the supplement include:

  • The passage of statutes authorizing medical aid-in-dying in two more states, bringing the total number of jurisdictions in which the practice is legal to seven.
  • The passage of statutes explicitly criminalizing or otherwise prohibiting aid-in-dying in two more states.
  • The passage of statutes authorizing default surrogate priority lists in two more states.
  • An innovative Montana statute authorizing physician decisionmaking for incapacitated unrepresented patients with no surrogate, agent, or guardian.
  • The passage of a statute authorizing a POLST program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions formally authorizing or regulating POLST to thirty-three. 
  • A Kansas statute forbidding the institution of a DNR order for a minor without consent from the parent or guardian. 
  • The passage of statutes in four states both forming palliative care and quality of life task forces and directing health departments to promote both professional and consumer palliative care education.
  • A strong statement of support for autonomy through advance directives from the California Court of Appeals as it awarded attorneys’ fees to a governmental agency that challenged the end-of-life decisionmaking of a husband, with his wife as agent, supported by the health providers involved in his care. 

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

The Right to Die The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking – 2nd 2017 Supplement

For decades, Wolters Kluwer has been publishing an annual supplement for The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking.  This year, we are moving to a semi-annual plan.  So, there will soon be a second 2017 update, the “2017-2 Supplement.”


Highlights of this extra supplement cover the most recent legal developments—judicial cases, legislation, and news accounts of important legal proceedings that are not officially reported—concerning end-of-life decisionmaking. Some (and there are many more) specific important matters covered in the supplement include:

  • The passage of statutes authorizing medical aid-in-dying in two more states, bringing the total number of jurisdictions in which the practice is legal to seven.
  • The passage of statutes explicitly criminalizing or otherwise prohibiting aid-in-dying in two more states.
  • The passage of statutes authorizing default surrogate priority lists in two more states.
  • An innovative Montana statute authorizing physician decisionmaking for incapacitated unrepresented patients with no surrogate, agent, or guardian.
  • The passage of a statute authorizing a POLST program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions formally authorizing or regulating POLST to thirty-three. 
  • A Kansas statute forbidding the institution of a DNR order for a minor without consent from the parent or guardian. 
  • The passage of statutes in four states both forming palliative care and quality of life task forces and directing health departments to promote both professional and consumer palliative care education.
  • A strong statement of support for autonomy through advance directives from the California Court of Appeals as it awarded attorneys’ fees to a governmental agency that challenged the end-of-life decisionmaking of a husband, with his wife as agent, supported by the health providers involved in his care. 

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

The Right to Die The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking – 2nd 2017 Supplement

For decades, Wolters Kluwer has been publishing an annual supplement for The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking.  This year, we are moving to a semi-annual plan.  So, there will soon be a second 2017 update, the “2017-2 Supplement.”


Highlights of this extra supplement cover the most recent legal developments—judicial cases, legislation, and news accounts of important legal proceedings that are not officially reported—concerning end-of-life decisionmaking. Some (and there are many more) specific important matters covered in the supplement include:

  • The passage of statutes authorizing medical aid-in-dying in two more states, bringing the total number of jurisdictions in which the practice is legal to seven.
  • The passage of statutes explicitly criminalizing or otherwise prohibiting aid-in-dying in two more states.
  • The passage of statutes authorizing default surrogate priority lists in two more states.
  • An innovative Montana statute authorizing physician decisionmaking for incapacitated unrepresented patients with no surrogate, agent, or guardian.
  • The passage of a statute authorizing a POLST program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions formally authorizing or regulating POLST to thirty-three. 
  • A Kansas statute forbidding the institution of a DNR order for a minor without consent from the parent or guardian. 
  • The passage of statutes in four states both forming palliative care and quality of life task forces and directing health departments to promote both professional and consumer palliative care education.
  • A strong statement of support for autonomy through advance directives from the California Court of Appeals as it awarded attorneys’ fees to a governmental agency that challenged the end-of-life decisionmaking of a husband, with his wife as agent, supported by the health providers involved in his care. 

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

Where to publish and not to publish in bioethics – the 2017 list

Allegedly, there are over 8.000 so called predatory journals out there. Instead of supporting readers and science, these journals serve their own economic interests first and at best offer dubious merits for scholars. We believe that scholars working in any academic discipline have a professional interest and a responsibility to keep track of these journals. It is our job to warn the young or inexperienced of journals where a publication or editorship could be detrimental to their career and science is not served. We have seen “predatory” publishing take off in a big way and noticed how colleagues start to turn up in the pages of some of these journals. While many have assumed that this phenomenon mainly is a problem for low status universities, there are strong indications that predatory publishing is a part of a major trend towards the industrialization of misconduct and that it affects many top-flight research institutions (see Priyanka Pulla: “In India, elite institutes in shady journals”, Science 354(6319): 1511-1512). This trend, referred to by some as the dark side of publishing, needs to be reversed.

Gert Helgesson, Professor of Medical Ethics, Karolinska InstitutetThus we published this blog post in 2016. This is our first annual update (the previous version can be found here). At first, we relied heavily on the work of Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, who runs blacklists of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory publishers and journals. His lists have since been removed although they live on in new form (anonymous) at the Stop predatory journals site (SPJ) and they can also be found archived.

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.