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Course Details

Law, Biomedicine and Bioethics
#6853

Type

LEC

Credits

3 cr.

Senior Writing

Yes

Student Year

2L/3L

Description:

This course provides an immersion in the fascinating, cross-disciplinary field of law, biomedicine, and bioethics. Students will emerge from this course with a thorough understanding of the history of this field, key controversies that have driven that history (from abuse of human subjects in research, to emergence of cutting-edge technologies, to control of decision-making in medical care), the range of applicable law (state, federal, and international), the evolution of modern bioethics and its interaction with law, and the articulation of policy (from commissions, NGOs, professional societies, and others). The course will consider competing accounts of the relationship of law, biomedicine, and bioethics, as well as current controversy over the future of the field. We will begin by investigating the history of modern bioethics, starting with the Medical Trial at Nuremberg after World War II. We will then analyze the evolving role of law and bioethics in governing biomedical research, assisted reproduction, cloning and stem cell research, genetics and genomics, synthetic biology and other emerging technologies, organ transplantation and the determination of death, life-sustaining treatment and care of the dying, and physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Finally, we will consider the future of bioethics and its relationship to law and human rights, in the face of advancing technology and global challenges.

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Sections

Fall 2015: Law, Biomedicine and Bioethics

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Type

LEC

Credits

3

Student Year

2L/3L

Details:

Reading for the course will be drawn from a well-established casebook on law and bioethics, plus major reports and publications on bioethics and biomedicine. Each week we will analyze and debate the key issues raised. Students will be exposed to landmark publications in bioethics as well as seminal legal cases. This will allow students to develop a critical appreciation of the different approaches taken in law and bioethics and how those approaches are deployed in development of policy. Students will actively debate the issues posed by each week’s reading and other material. Each student will write a paper on a topic of their choosing, as approved by the instructor, and will present the paper-in-progress in depth for class and instructor feedback. Students may use PowerPoint, hand-outs, or both for the presentation. The paper will be an opportunity to develop an original proposal and argument. Grading will be based on class participation, the presentation, and the paper. 

(no readings)