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08/01/2005

News Flash: People Build Studies Around their Politics!Who Knew?

Boston Globe breathlessly reveals the phenomenon that has become obvious to everyone in bioethics: the new right wing bioethics contingent has taken to using “empirical evidence” to make its arguments, rather than advancing them directly:

David Reardon wears two hats when it comes to abortion. He runs the Elliot Foundation, which wants Congress to impose strict barriers to abortion. But he is also a researcher whose studies on abortion have been in peer-reviewed journals. His latest, in a British journal, says that women who have had abortions are ”three times more likely to use illegal drugs during a subsequent pregnancy.”

Reardon’s findings support his proposal that abortion be defined as an act of ”medical negligence” if a physician does not warn patients about risk factors such as psychological problems.

One tidbit here worth mentioning: the disappearance of William Cheshire, who delivered the big “she could wake up yet!” blow on behalf of those who wanted to keep Terri Schiavo on artificial nutrition and hydration forever:

Meanwhile, The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, which cites medical evidence to oppose right-to-die cases, says it was founded after ”more than a dozen leading Christian bioethicists gathered to assess the noticeable lack of explicit Christian engagement in the crucial bioethics arena.” This year, the center’s director of biotech ethics, Dr. William Cheshire, disputed court-appointed doctors who diagnosed Terri Schiavo as being in a vegetative state. Cheshire said Schiavo had responded to some stimuli, a view quoted by Governor Jeb Bush.

An autopsy found that the court-appointed doctors had been correct.
Before Schiavo’s death, some critics questioned whether Cheshire was basing his appraisal of her condition on his religious beliefs. The center said last week that Cheshire would not comment. The center’s director, John Kilner, said, ”People shouldn’t be disqualified from entering public discussions just because they have certain beliefs.”

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