Professor offers basics of bioethics and the law in 90 minutes image

Harvard Gazette, September 20, 2016
Deborah Blackwell, reviewing lecture by I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)


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On September 13, 2016, Petrie-Flom Faculty Director I. Glenn Cohen delivered a lecture at the Harvard Ed Portal as part of his online EdX course "Bioethics: The Law, Medicine, and Ethics of Reproductive Technologies and Genetics." From the Harvard Gazette's coverage of the event: 

Bioethics, the law, and how they pertain to health information technologies, reproduction, and research have raised questions, and often hackles, since humans began to debate the boundaries of life. Should physicians assist in the death of a patient? Or create embryos and destroy them in the service of creating stem cell lines? Under what circumstances should the state be allowed to involuntarily hospitalize individuals, and what procedures are in place to protect the rights of those individuals?

Harvard Law School Professor Glenn Cohen brought those questions, and an approach to consider them, to an interactive, one-night class at the Harvard Ed Portal that delved into the intricacies surrounding the legal, medical, and ethical aspects of bioethics.

The Sept. 13 lecture, attended by nearly 60 people and audited online by more than 100 viewers from all over the world, was held in conjunction with Cohen’sHarvardX course,  “Bioethics: The Law, Medicine, and Ethics of Reproductive Technologies and Genetics.

Bioethics is about testing our intuitions, examining a series of cases that are alike and unalike and then exploring whether the variations affirm or challenge our gut feelings, said Cohen, the faculty director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics.

“This is what law professors do, take the premise of what something should be and nudge you toward doubt and self-doubt,” he said. “Especially when educating with material that is both fascinating and terrifying. There is a certain moral panic when thinking about making these decisions.”

Read the full piece at the Gazette's website!

For more, check out Professor Cohen's EdX course!

abortion bioethics biotechnology end-of-life health information technology health law policy human rights i. glenn cohen medicine reproductive rights reproductive technologies stem cells