Ethics

Quickening

By Katherine Brind'Amour

Quickening, the point at which a pregnant woman can first feel the movements of the growing embryo or fetus, has long been considered a pivotal moment in pregnancy. Over time, this experience has been used in a variety of contexts, ranging from representing the point of ensoulment to determining whether an abortion was legal to indicating the gender of the unborn baby; philosophy, theology, and law all address the idea of quickening in detail. Beginning with Aristotle, quickening divided the developmental stages of embryo and fetus.

Created 2007-10-30

Last modified 3 years 5 months ago

Format: Articles

Margaret Higgins Sanger (1879-1966)

By Kimberly A. Buettner

Margaret Higgins Sanger, a leader of the movement to decriminalize contraceptive use in the United States, was born on 14 September 1879 to Anne Purcell and Michael Hennessey Higgins in Corning, New York. Prior to her career as a birth control reformer, Sanger attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, though she never graduated. She was later trained as a nurse at White Plains Hospital. In 1902 she married William Sanger and the couple had two sons, Stuart and Grant, and a daughter, Peggy.

Created 2007-11-01

Last modified 1 year 11 months ago

Format: Articles

Katharine McCormick (1876-1967)

By Aliya Buttar

Katharine Dexter McCormick, who contributed the majority of funding for the development of the oral contraceptive pill, was born to Josephine and Wirt Dexter on 27 August 1875 in Dexter, Michigan. After growing up in Chicago, Illinois, she attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she graduated in 1904 with a BS in biology. That same year, she married Stanley McCormick, the son of Cyrus McCormick, inventor and manufacturer of the mechanized reaper.

Created 2007-11-08

Last modified 1 year 11 months ago

Format: Articles

Free Hospital for Women Scrapbook by Harvard University Library

By Kimberly A. Buettner

This scrapbook is part of the Harvard University Library's collection on "Working Women, 1800-1930," which is itself part of the Open Collections Program. The print version is located at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. It contains information about the hospital, including articles from newspapers, magazines, and other publications; photographs of the hospital, employees, and special events; lecture announcements; letters and other forms of correspondence; ration cards; tickets; forms; certificates; posters; programs; and playbills.

Created 2007-11-13

Last modified 1 year 11 months ago

Format: Articles

Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes (1880-1958)

By Ellen M. DuPont

Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 15 October 1880 to Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, a suffragist, and Henry Stopes, an archaeologist and anthropologist. A paleobotanist best known for her social activism in the area of sexuality, Stopes was a pioneer in the fight to gain sexual equality for women. Her activism took many forms including writing books and pamphlets, giving public appearances, serving on panels, and, most famously, co-founding the first birth control clinic in the United Kingdom.

Created 2008-07-10

Last modified 1 year 11 months ago

Format: Articles

Test-Tube Baby

By Stephen C. Ruffenach

A test-tube baby is the product of a successful human reproduction that results from methods beyond sexual intercourse between a man and a woman and instead utilizes medical intervention that manipulates both the egg and sperm cells for successful fertilization. The term was originally used to refer to the babies born from the earliest applications of artificial insemination and has now been expanded to refer to children born through the use of in vitro fertilization, the practice of fertilizing an embryo outside of a woman's body.

Created 2009-01-13

Last modified 3 years 5 months ago

Format: Articles

Ethics and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

By Katherine Brind'Amour

The recent development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and related technologies has caught the attention of scientists, activists, politicians, and ethicists alike. IPSCs gained immediate international attention for their apparent similarity to embryonic stem cells after their successful creation in 2006 by Shinya Yamanaka and in 2007 by James Thompson and others.

Created 2009-06-10

Last modified 3 years 5 months ago

Format: Articles

Ricardo Hector Asch (1947- )

By Hilary Gilson

Ricardo Hector Asch was born 26 October 1947 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a lawyer and French professor, Bertha, and a doctor and professor of surgery, Miguel. Asch's middle-class family lived among the largest Jewish community in Latin America, where a majority of males were professionals. After his graduation from National College No. 3 Mariano Moreno in Buenos Aires, Asch worked as a teaching assistant in human reproduction and embryology at the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine where he received his medical degree in 1971.

Created 2009-06-10

Last modified 3 years 5 months ago

Format: Articles

Sergio Cereceda Stone (1942- )

By Hilary Gilson

Sergio Cereceda Stone was born 16 April 1942 in the coastal city of Valparaiso, Chile. Stone's mother Luz was a housewife and caretaker for Sergio and his younger brother Lionel; his father Sergio served among the country's twenty appellate court judges. In the early 1950s Stone's father relocated the family to Santiago to further his law career.

Created 2010-06-07

Last modified 1 year 10 months ago

Format: Articles

Abortion

By Christina Raup

Abortion is the removal of the embryo or fetus from the womb, before birth can occur-either naturally or by induced labor. Prenatal development occurs in three stages: the zygote, or fertilized egg; the embryo, from post-conception to eight weeks; and the fetus, from eight weeks after conception until the baby is born. After abortion, the infant does not and cannot live. Spontaneous abortion is the loss of the infant naturally or accidentally, without the will of the mother. It is more commonly referred to as miscarriage.

Created 2010-06-10

Last modified 3 years 5 months ago

Format: Articles

Stem Cell Tourism

By Christina Raup

When James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin announced in 1998 that he had derived and cultured human embryonic stem cells(hESCs), Americans widely believed-and accepted-that stem cells would one day be the basis of a multitude of regenerative medical techniques. Researchers promised that they would soon be able to cure a variety of diseases and injuries such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, and many others. But it wasn't until January 2009 that the Food and Drug Administration approved the first human clinical trials using hESCs.

Created 2010-06-14

Last modified 3 years 5 months ago

Format: Articles

Leon Richard Kass (1939- )

By Samuel Philbrick

A PhD and medical doctor turned ethicist, Leon Kass calls himself an unlicensed humanist. Throughout his unique career he has sought to impact others and engage important cultural issues. This he has accomplished over the course of many years by studying biochemistry, teaching humanities, writing articles and books on ethics, and serving as chair of the President's Council on Bioethics.

Created 2010-11-17

Last modified 1 year 10 months ago

Format: Articles

"Alternative Sources of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells" (2005), by Leon Kass and the President’s Council on Bioethics

By Samuel Philbrick

Human pluripotent stem cells are valued for their potential to form numerous specialized cells and for their longevity. In the US, where a portion of the population is opposed to destruction of human embryos to obtain stem cells, what avenues are open to scientists for obtaining pluripotent cells that do not offend the moral sensibilities of a significant number of citizens?

Created 2011-02-22

Last modified 1 year 10 months ago

Format: Articles

China's One-Child Policy

By Lijing Jiang

In September 1979, China's Fifth National People's Congress passed a policy that encouraged one-child families. Following this decision from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), campaigns were initiated to implement the One-Child Policy nationwide. This initiative constituted the most massive governmental attempt to control human fertility and reproduction in human history. These campaigns prioritized reproductive technologies for contraception, abortion, and sterilization in gynecological and obstetric medicine, while downplaying technologies related to fertility treatment.

Created 2011-03-31

Last modified 3 years 5 months ago

Format: Articles

Ethics of Designer Babies

By Sarah Ly

A designer baby is a baby genetically engineered in vitro for specially selected traits, which can vary from lowered disease-risk to gender selection. Before the advent of genetic engineering and in vitro fertilization (IVF), designer babies were primarily a science fiction concept. However, the rapid advancement of technology before and after the turn of the twenty-first century makes designer babies an increasingly real possibility.

Created 2011-03-31

Last modified 3 years 5 months ago

Format: Articles

The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering (2007), by Michael J. Sandel

By Nathalie Antonios

The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering, hereafter referred to as The Case against Perfection, written by Michael J. Sandel, builds on a short essay featured in The Atlantic Monthly magazine in 2004. Three years later, Sandel transformed his article into a book, keeping the same title but expanding upon his personal critique of genetic engineering. The purpose of Sandel's book is to articulate the sources of what he considers to be widespread public unease related to genetic engineering that changes the course of natural development.

Created 2011-04-18

Last modified 1 year 10 months ago

Format: Articles

Fetal Surgery

By Kathleen O'Connor, Erica O'Neil

Fetal surgeries are a range of medical interventions performed in utero on the developing fetus of a pregnant woman to treat a number of congenital abnormalities. The first documented fetal surgical procedure occurred in 1963 in Auckland, New Zealand when A. William Liley treated fetal hemolytic anemia, or Rh disease, with a blood transfusion.

Created 2012-11-01

Last modified 2 years 7 hours ago

Format: Articles

South Korea's Bioethics and Biosafety Act (2005)

By Anne Safiya Clay

The South Korean government passed the Bioethics and Biosafety Act, known henceforth as the Bioethics Act, in 2003 and it took effect in 2005. South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare proposed the law to the South Korean National Assembly to allow the progress of biotechnology and life sciences research in South Korea while protecting human research subjects with practices such as informed consent. The Bioethics Act establishes a National Bioethics Committee in Seoul, South Korea.

Created 2013-03-15

Last modified 1 year 12 months ago

Format: Articles

The US President's Council on Bioethics (2001-2009)

By Ceara O'Brien

The US President's Council on Bioethics was an organization headquartered in Washington D.C. that was chartered to advise then US President George W. Bush on ethical issues related to biomedical science and technology. In November 2001, US President George W. Bush created the President's Council on Bioethics (PCB). Convened during a nationwide cloning and embryonic stem cell research debate, the Council stated that it worked to address arguments about ethics from many different perspectives.

Created 2014-02-18

Last modified 2 years 2 months ago

Format: Articles

The Singapore Bioethics Advisory Committee

By Ceara O'Brien

Established in tandem with Singapore's national Biomedical Sciences Initiatives, the Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) was established by the Singapore Cabinet in December 2000 to examine the potential ethical, legal, and social issues arising from Singapore's biomedical research sector, and to recommend policy to Singapore's government.

Created 2014-03-14

Last modified 2 years 11 months ago

Format: Articles

Social Implications of Non-Invasive Blood Tests to Determine the Sex of Fetuses

By Ceara O'Brien

By 2011, researchers in the US had established that non-invasive blood tests can accurately determine the gender of a human fetus as early as seven weeks after fertilization. Experts predicted that this ability may encourage the use of prenatal sex screening tests by women interested to know the gender of their fetuses. As more people begin to use non-invasive blood tests that accurately determine the sex of the fetus at 7 weeks, many ethical questions pertaining to regulation, the consequences of gender-imbalanced societies, and altered meanings of the parent-child relationship.

Created 2014-03-23

Last modified 2 years 11 months ago

Format: Articles

"Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research: Executive Summary" (1999), by the US National Bioethics Advisory Commission

By Ceara O'Brien

Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research: Executive Summary was published in September 1999 by The US National Bioethics Advisory Commission in response to a national debate about whether or not the US federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research. Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research recommended policy to US President William Clinton's administration, which advocated for federal spending on the use of stem research on stem cells that came from embryos left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF) fertility treatments.

Created 2014-04-01

Last modified 2 years 10 months ago

Format: Articles

Hwang Woo-suk's Use of Human Eggs for Research 2002-2005

By Anne Safiya Clay

Hwang Woo-suk, a geneticist in South Korea, claimed in Science magazine in 2004 and 2005 that he and a team of researchers had for the first time cloned a human embryo and that they had derived eleven stem cell lines from it. Hwang was a professor at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea. In the Science articles, Hwang stated that all of the women who donated eggs to his laboratory were volunteers who donated their eggs (oocytes) without receiving any compensation in return. In 2006, Hwang admitted that many of the results were fabricated.

Created 2014-08-12

Last modified 2 years 6 months ago

Format: Articles

David Wildt's Evolving Ethics Concerning the Roles of Wildlife Reproductive Sciences in Species Conservation

By Caroline Appleton

David Wildt is an animal reproductive biologist who directs the Conservation Biology Institute in Fort Royal, Virginia. In 1986, Wildt argued that artificial reproductive technologies should only be used for species conservation efforts if standard techniques to aid natural reproduction are not effective. Between 1986 and 2001, Wildt revised his views and values primarily in relation to two things: which methods captive breeding programs ought to use, and how reproductive scientists ought to contribute to the larger work of conservation.

Created 2014-08-18

Last modified 2 years 6 months ago

Format: Articles

The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology (1984), by Mary Warnock and the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology

By LaTourelle, Jonathon J.

The Report of the Committee of Inquiry
into Human Fertilisation and Embryology, commonly called the Warnock
Report after the chair of the committee Mary Warnock, is the 1984
publication of a UK governmental inquiry into the social impacts of
infertility treatment and embryological research. The birth of Louise
Brown in 1978 in Oldham, UK, sparked debate about reproductive and
embryological technologies. Brown was conceived through in vitro
fertilization (IVF), a process of fertilization that occurs outside of

Created 2014-10-02

Last modified 2 years 3 months ago

Format: Articles

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990)

By Jonathan LaTourelle

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 established the legal framework that governs infertility treatment, medical services ancillary to infertility treatment such as embryo storage, and all human embryological research performed in the UK. The law also defines a legal concept of the parent of a child conceived with assisted reproductive technologies.

Created 2014-12-19

Last modified 2 years 2 months ago

Format: Articles

Assisted Human Reproduction Act (2004)

By Kathleen Hammond

The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHR Act) is a piece of federal legislation passed by the Parliament of Canada. The Act came into force on 29 March 2004. Many sections of the Act were struck down following a 2010 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on its constitutionality. The AHR Act sets a legislative and regulatory framework for the use of reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization and related services including surrogacy and gamete donation. The Act also regulates research in Canada involving in vitro embryos.

Created 2015-07-30

Last modified 1 year 6 months ago

Format: Articles

Eugenical Sterilization in the United States (1922), by Harry H. Laughlin

By Rachel Gur-Arie

Eugenical Sterilization in the United States is a 1922 book in which author Harry H. Laughlin argues for the necessity of compulsory sterilization in the United States based on the principles of eugenics. The eugenics movement of the early twentieth century in the US focused on altering the genetic makeup of the US population by regulating immigration and sterilization, and by discouraging interracial procreation, then called miscegenation.

Created 2015-08-12

Last modified 1 year 6 months ago

Format: Articles

Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942)

By Rachel Gur-Arie

In 1942, the United States Supreme Court Case of Skinner v. Oklahoma ruled that states could not legally sterilize those inmates of prisons deemed habitual criminals. Skinner v. Oklahoma was about the case of Jack Skinner, an inmate of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma, who was subject to sterilization under the Oklahoma Habitual Criminal Sterilization Act of 1935. The case, decided on 1 June 1942, determined that state laws were unconstitutional if those laws enabled states to forcibly sterilize inmates deemed to be habitual criminals.

Created 2016-08-27

Last modified 5 months 4 weeks ago

Format: Articles

US Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program

By Alexis Abboud

In 1996, the US Congress mandated that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) create and regulate the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. The program tests industrial and agricultural chemicals for hormonal impacts in humans and in wildlife that may disrupt organisms' endocrine systems. The endocrine system regulates the release of small amounts of chemical substances called hormones to keep the body functioning normally.

Created 2017-02-02

Last modified 2 weeks 6 days ago

Format: Articles