Human Exceptionalism

Center on Human Exceptionalism

Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., now director of the NIH, stands to the right of then-President Bill Clinton (J. Craig Ventner, Ph.D., left) at the announcement that an international consortuim had completed the first

Genome Project Raises Fears, Hopes

Two rival groups of scientists have announced that the race to decode the human genome has ended-in a tie. J. Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics, and Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, joined in a White House ceremony on June 26 to announce that they’ve deciphered the human hereditary script. The two organizations had Read More ›

Is Bioethic Ethical?

The case of James H. Armstrong, M.D. v. The State of Montana should have been merely a skirmish in the never-ending national struggle over abortion. Instead, relying on the reasoning of certain “experts” in the moral choices surrounding health care, the Montana Supreme Court issued in October 1999 a sweeping decision that could make huge changes in the way Montanans live—and Read More ›

The Contradictions of Nazi Medicine

The Death of Medicine in Nazi Germany: Dermatology and Dermatopathology Under the Swastika. By Wolfgang Weyers, M.D. Madison Books. 472 pp. $18.95. The Nazi War on Cancer. By Robert N. Proctor. Princeton University Press. 365 pp. $29.95. Reviewed by Wesley J. Smith For lovers of history and those interested in preserving cultural morality and virtue, the Nazi era is a mine that never runs Read More ›

The Death of Us

The Definition of Death, Contemporary Controversies, edited by Stuart J. Youngner, Robert, M. Arnold, and Renie Schapiro. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 346 pp., $ 54 In just thirty years, bioethics has grown from a group of ruminating philosophers and theologians into one of the country’s most fiercely secularized and influential intellectual forces. Bioethicists sit on presidential advisory commissions, teach in Read More ›

Old male doctor visiting young male patient
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When Death Is Our Physician

It is hard to tell the truth about assisted suicide. Or rather, it’s hard to get people to listen. Folks generally are about as eager to delve into the issue of assisted suicide as they are to work out the details of their own funeral. It’s a delicate and unnerving subject, involving the ultimate issues of life: the reality of Read More ›

Suicide Unlimited in Oregon

LAST WEEK, Congress took up the issues of pain control and physician-assisted suicide, with the House voting 271-156 to pass the Pain Relief Promotion Act. The legislation, if passed, would improve pain control while deterring physician-assisted suicide. Doctors who prescribe lethal drugs for the purpose of killing their terminally ill patients would be subject to losing their federal licenses to Read More ›

Intravenous cannula placed in the hand of an elderly patient for palliative care of a terminal patient.
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Don’t Kill the Pain Relief Bill

Last week, by a vote of 271-156, the House approved the Pain Relief Promotion Act, designed to promote effective medical treatment of pain while deterring the misuse of narcotics and other controlled substances for assisted suicide. The bill’s passage prompted an outpouring of hyperbole and misinformation from opponents. Here are the facts about the act: It would not outlaw assisted Read More ›

Suicide Pays

It is the unfortunate nature of man that financial imperatives often supersede important moral and ethical principles. We often tolerate or even celebrate inherently unethical and immoral actions as long as they make a buck.  Simply put, mammon has the power to distort moral intuitions. Take the issue of assisted suicide. Opponents of legalization warn that if killing is ever Read More ›

Kill the Bill, Not the Ill

Sacramento, California It was every liberal’s dream of diverse, grass-roots political activism: more than a hundred people demonstrating angrily in front of the California state capitol against pending legislation that threatened people who are poor, who are disabled, and who are vulnerable. Disability-rights activists in wheel-chairs marched in solidarity with white medical professionals, alongside African-American clergy and advocates for the Read More ›

Before He Kills Again

IT SEEMS AS IF HE HAS ALWAYS been part of the American cultural landscape, leaving dead bodies at hospital emergency-room doors, wearing Founding Father costumes to court, accusing his opponents of conducting a modern-day Inquisition. But only nine years ago, no one had heard of Jack Kevorkian, when a March 1990 newspaper article described an offer that seemed more like Read More ›