Bioethics in the Courts

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Spring 2013 Seminar
Meets: T 5:00pm - 7:00pm in WCC Room 3038
2 classroom credits

Holly Fernandez Lynch, J.D., M.Bioethics, Academic Fellow, Petrie-Flom Center

  • Bioethics is a field of many disciplines, but it has been shaped in a number of ways by the law and lawyers. American courts in particular have played an important role, deciding cases in nearly every area of bioethical inquiry. This seminar will provide a survey of these key cases, some famous and some less so. Likely topics include:
  • Pregnancy and parenthood (abortion, maternal-fetal conflict, surrogacy, parental discretion over medical care)
  • Doctor-patient relationship (informed consent, confidentiality, duty to warn, conflicts of conscience)
  • Palliative care and end-of-life issues (withdrawal of treatment, assisted suicide, medical marijuana, refusal of care)
  • Research (ownership of bodily materials, stem cells, experimental drug access)
  • Disability and eugenics
  • Public health (quarantine, mandatory vaccination)
  • Students will be responsible for researching and presenting historical background to contextualize each week’s cases. Readings will include cases, briefs, and other materials. Grading based on class participation (1/3) and written work (2/3). Students can choose to write either multiple reading responses or a single final paper. Given the importance of class participation, enrollment will be capped at 15.

    No prerequisites. Open to law students and other interested graduate students.

    Subject Areas: Disciplinary Perspectives & Law .

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