Tag: rape

Bioethics Blogs

Bioethics.net: The Presidential Election Edition

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Every four years the United States chooses a new chief executive. Although encoded in the Constitution, the idea that a person with such power would willingly surrender it and walk away to allow another to lead is remarkable. It was even more remarkable in 1797 when George Washington began this tradition of a peaceful transition of power, an action that was nearly unthinkable in a world ruled by monarchs. As the character of King George says in the musical Hamilton, “I wasn’t aware that was something a person can do.” Of course that tradition may be ending as Republican candidate Donald Trump stated that he reserves the right not to honor the election results.

Many states are in the middle of early voting and all states (except Oregon in which everyone mails in a ballot) are nearing Election Day on November 8. Thus, I thought that it was appropriate to view both of the major party candidates’ positions on health issues. Specifically, I will look at the candidate’s positions on abortion, the Affordable Care Act, Family Life Issues, Supreme Court nominations and the curious case of medical diagnosis from afar.

Abortion

The candidate’s offer different perspectives on the issue of abortion, a contrast made clear in the third Presidential debate. Clinton has repeatedly stated that abortion is a woman’s decision and not one that the state should be making for her. She supports the work of Planned Parenthood, opposes any restrictions to abortion access, and supports repealing the Hyde Amendment (banning any federal dollars to be used for abortion).

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

Hospitals Struggle to Address Terrifying and Long-Lasting ‘ICU Delirium’

October 17, 2016

(STAT News) – Recognizing the prevalence of the problem, doctors and nurses across the country are now pushing an ambitious campaign to change practices in intensive care units to reduce cases of “ICU delirium” — a sudden and intense confusion that can include hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Anywhere from a third to more than 80 percent of ICU patients suffer from delirium during their hospital stay. And one-quarter of all ICU patients suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder once they leave, a rate that’s comparable to PTSD diagnoses among combat veterans and rape victims. Patients with ICU delirium are less likely to survive and more likely to suffer long-term cognitive damage if they do.

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

Ethics & Society Newsfeed: October 14, 2016

Health Care and Bioethics

DNA database highlights need for new medical privacy protections
Creation of a national repository of genetic information is seen by some as crucial to reducing medical costs and improving people’s healthcare.

‘Big data’ could mean big problems for people’s healthcare privacy
Public and private insurers are spending millions of dollars on systems that can predict people’s future healthcare needs.

Colorado Wrestles With Ethics Of Aid In Dying As Vote Looms
Colorado man says he would like the option to end his life rather than face a painful death and advocates for Colorado’s Proposition 106  or “death with dignity.”

The NIH needs to review the ethics of research on primates
Congress asked the National Institutes of Health to review “its ethical policies and processes” on nonhuman primate research “to ensure it has appropriate justification for animal research protocols.”

Breast Cancer Death Rates Are Down, But Racial Disparities Persist
Women are less likely to die of breast cancer than they were a decade ago, but not all women are benefiting from that trend.

The Ethics of Conscientious Objection in Healthcare in ABC Religion and Ethics Opinion
While an unbridled right to conscientious objection presents serious problems, it is nevertheless reasonable to give more space for conscience than the liberal democratic critique allows.

“Testing in the East”: An Episode in Cold War Bioethics
Understanding conditions of medical ethics in East Germany and the other socialist states during Cold War  incorporating expertise from cultural history, law, and the social sciences, as well as dogged archival work.

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

Ethical Implications of Victim Blaming in Cases of Police Brutality

STUDENT VOICES 

By Emily Jenab, M.A.

Another black man has been shot and, subsequently, another case of character assassination post-death has begun.  Alfred Okwera Olango, 38, was killed as he pulled out “a three inch long vape” and allegedly pointed it at the police of El Cajun, California. The shooting of Olango, an “emotionally disturbed” man who was shot after his sister called 911 for help, has already resulted in justifications of why he deserved to die. Yes, he was holding a vape, but why did it look like a gun? Why was he standing like that? Why did he hold his vaporizer between his hands? Efforts to legitimize another murder, and state implicated violence, will be taken. The cycle repeats and ethical and emotional discussions surrounding these murders, along with the issues embedded in police systems, will continue to be ignored.

Respectability politics are pertinent for people of color, and for marginalized persons, the respectability of their very identity is questioned when they are victims of police misconducts. There is, for our cultural purposes, no “good” black man; if he is unarmed, as Eric Garner was, he still deserves to die and his murderer will not be charged. If he is armed in an open carry state, as Philando Castle was, it is asked why he even had a gun, or what he was doing prior to being pulled over. These men – employed, fathers, worthwhile members of their communities – are reduced to “thugs” in the wake of their deaths.

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

Poland Starts Work on Total Abortion Ban Amid Cultural Clash

September 23, 2016

(Bloomberg) – Religious groups loosely supported by the ruling Law & Justice party have proposed the bill to tighten what’s already one of the European Union’s most-restrictive regulations. While the current law limits abortions to pregnancies stemming from rape or incest, and cases where the mother or fetus faces serious health risk, they want a total ban that would put the Roman Catholic country of 38 million in a group of eight states that includes El Salvador, Guatemala and the Vatican.

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

My Experience with Texas Campus Carry Laws as a New Professor

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Like many other new assistant professors across America, I spent the weeks before the beginning of the new fall semester in orientations covering everything from my university’s tenure requirements to how to fill out my health insurance forms to how to get a campus ID card. Because I am a new assistant professor at a public university in the state of Texas, my orientation also included briefings on the new campus carry laws.

On August 1st students (who have met other requirements for owning a weapon such as age, permits, etc.) were granted legal permission to carry a concealed weapon on the grounds of public universities in Texas, making it the eighth state in the USA to do so. Faculty and students at my own institution seem to be generally uncomfortable with this new law if the students in my classes, flyers handed out by students in front of the library, and watercooler talk among faculty who wondered if they could get our department to pay for bulletproof vests are representative of the sentiment about campus carry laws.

This new law was a part of my new job before I was even offered the position. During my campus interview, after giving my final roundtable interview with the department chair and other faculty members, I waited in the lobby while the group deliberated and decided my fate with the department. While waiting a student approached me and asked if she could interview me and ask my opinion on the impending campus carry law (this was a few months before the law was to be enacted) for a class project.

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 Chinese pleasure room: ethics of technologically mediated interaction

The author of the webcomic Left Over Soup proposed a sexual equivalent (or parody?) of Searle’s Chinese Room argument, posing some interesting questions about what it means to have sex, consent and relationships if there is technological mediation:

Imagine a complex assembly of vibrators, hoses, and mechanical arms, designed to stimulate a human body in every conceivable fashion. A pornstar shows up, strips down, straps on a variety of sensors (pulse, temperature, skin capacitance, genital response) and grabs the control stick with three buttons labeled “I like this”, “I don’t like this” and “No, hard stop”. The pornstar assumes the position and gives us the thumbs up.

Now, in a separate room, a gamer is shown a series of controls and monitors, all displaying entirely arbitrary abstract symbols. As the gamer plays, despite not knowing what the various pings and gradually filling bars actually signify, they begin to become proficient – this sequence of commands followed by that sequence gives a good result! – and the game continues on and gets more and more fast-paced and complex until – fireworks! – a climax is reached.

Has the pornstar had sex with a human being, or was this merely a form of masturbation? Has the gamer – who never realized their game had a sexual connotation at all – had sex? If so, although the pornstar’s consent is obvious, the gamer never consented to be part of a sex act – was this a form of sexual assault on the gamer? If we record the inputs the gamer made and play them back again and again (assuming the human subject reacts the same way each time), is anything different about it?

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

Web Roundup: Controversy and Commerce by Sara M Bergstresser

There have been many controversies about substantial and sudden jumps in pharmaceutical prices, the most memorable/infamous surrounding Martin Shkreli, the [widely despised and thoroughly unrepentant] former CEO of the drug company Turing, and the 5000% increase in the price of a drug used by many AIDS patients. Similar questions of impropriety have been raised by the practices of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which has become known for the practice of bypassing research and development by buying up smaller companies and then jacking up the prices of their existing drugs.

The newest pharma pricing outrage involves the Epipen emergency allergy device, and the CEO antihero of the moment is Heather Bresch of Mylan. “Mylan has raised the list price of EpiPens more than 450 percent since 2004, after adjusting for inflation, according to Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database. A pack of two EpiPens cost about $100 in today’s dollars in 2004, but the list price now tops $600.” (STAT news). The controversy now includes inquiries from the Senate about Mylan’s drug pricing, descriptions of how Mylan prevented Teva from manufacturing a generic version, frustrations with coupon and discount programs, and questions about the validity of Bresch’s MBA and the role of her being the daughter of a US Senator. Bresch’s statement that “No one’s more frustrated than me” (about the price increase) drew widespread ire, particularly from parents of children with severe allergies.

Josh Freeman of the blog Medicine and Social Justice clearly explains how these events are a symptom of the larger problems of health care in the US, which driven by commerce rather than health.

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

Abortion Should Be Decriminalised

Abortion remains a crime in Queensland and NSW in Australia. Queensland Parliament has just decided against decriminalising abortion. However, laws are obsolete and unclear, dating back over 100 years. Around 100,000 abortions are performed around Australia every year. In practice, early abortion is available on demand.

Abortion should be decriminalised. Early abortion should be freely and easily available on request. Late abortion should be freely and easily available at least for those who have a valid justification: significant fetal abnormality, threat to woman’s health or serious social reason, for example child pregnancy or rape. Family planning, including safe, free and open abortion services, is an essential part of a civilized society.

Failure to regulate abortion properly results in women being denied safe, effective abortion services, affecting their mental health and social welfare, as well as those of their family and society. It is stigmatising to women and health professionals to allow abortion to occur, while retaining it as a criminal offence. It is also moral hypocrisy.

With Lach de Crespigny, Dominic Wilkinson, Tom Douglas and Mark Textor, we conducted a survey which showed the majority of Australians believed early abortion (61%) should be fully decriminalised. Only 12% believed it should be unlawful. [deCrespigny, L., Wilkinson, D., Douglas, T., Textor, M., and Savulescu, J. (2010) ‘Australian attitudes to early and late abortion’.  The Medical Journal of Australia  Vol: 193(1) pp 9 – 12]

Summary

Simple yes/no polls may give a misleading picture of public opinion. Previous surveys permit only a limited view of community sentiment.

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

Rape as a public health issue


Some people may be surprised that I
am discussing rape on a bioethics blog because they do not think that sexual
violence is a bioethics issue. However, rape is a public health matter that
raises serious ethical concerns, especially regarding justice and equality. The
goal of public health is to protect and improve the lives of the public. Rape
harms many people especially women: 1 out of 6 women and 1 out of 33 men in the
United States will experience a rape or attempted rape (Esposito 2006).


The act of rape can cause various
immediate health concerns such as general body trauma (e.g. bruises,
lacerations, broken bones, etc.), STI exposure, and unintentional pregnancy. Rape
also has long-term health consequences
for survivors both psychologically and physiologically. Rape
survivors frequently experience depression, anxiety, PTSD, and negative
sexuality issues. Furthermore, sexual violence has been connected to health problems
for survivors across almost all body systems (e.g. gastrointestinal,
cardiopulmonary, etc.)
(
Wasco
2003
).


Rape is not only harmful to its
victims, but rape culture has a toxic effect on women as a group. Rape culture perpetuates
an oppressive patriarchal system in which women are sexually objectified and
devalued. Furthermore, rape culture leads women to live in constant fear about
their physical safety because they are worried that they will be victims of
sexual assault. Feelings of objectification and devaluation as well as anxiety
regarding one’s safety are clearly not good for women’s health.


Despite the deleterious effects
rape has on its victims, women as a group, public health, and society at large,
as we have seen with the
Brock Turner case, as
well as other cases, unfortunately our legal system frequently does not treat
rape as a serious crime.

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.