Law, Biomedicine and Bioethics – 6853
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 (sometimes called “physician-assisted death”) and euthanasia. Finally, we will consider the emerging challenges posed by new models of science, including citizen science, DIY (“do it yourself”) biology, and biohacking.