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Author Archive: Bela Fishbeyn


I am a refugee, an immigrant and an American

Our Managing Editor, Bela Fishbeyn published a very moving account of her experiences as an immigrant to the United States. This highlights the schizophrenic nature of our nation’s attitudes and history towards immigrants and refugees. My father was a holocaust survivor. When he spoke about being a child in Germany, he commented on how all the children knew you wanted to be in the areas controlled by the Americans. The American GI’s would give the starving children their rations and sometimes a candy bar. In contrast, the soldiers of other countries were to be avoided. There was no empathy for the children from another land.…

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Restricting Choices of Childbearing Women

by Bela Fishbeyn, M.S.

In this month’s issue of AJOB, Howard Minkoff and Mary Faith Marshall argue that we ought to acknowledge the inherent complexity and personal nature of risks involved in childbirth, and thus defer, when possible, to the decisions made by autonomous mothers-to-be. They place this in opposition to the claim that, “women have the right to choose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk,” and discourage deference to the evaluations of clinicians and judges. However, for mothers-to-be to access autonomy presupposes access to options that may not exist in the world, and in our current system that overwhelmingly favors medicalized birth, access to other birth options is limited.…

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Dr. Gerald Koocher’s Response: Comments on the Hoffman report

In response to an invitation to reply to the recent blog post by Steven Miles, Dr. Gerald Koocher sent the following attached document.  Click to view Dr. Koocher and Dr. Levant’s comments on the Hoffman report.…

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When Ideology Trumps: A Case for Evidence-Based Health Policies

by Bela Fishbeyn

In this issue of The American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB), Adina Preda and Kristin Voigt (2015) investigate the relationship between health policies, social determinants of health, and health inequalities. There is much empirical work demonstrating the correlation between social determinants of health and health outcomes, which establishes a clear relationship between a person’s social and economic status and her health outcomes. What are defined as social determinants of health varies depending on institution or organization, but the World Health Organization (WHO) broadly explains social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age” and further, that “these circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels” (World Health Organization, Social Determinants of Health.…

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