Hot Topics: Politics

Blog Posts (134)

August 29, 2017

Taking Patient Autonomy Out of the DNR

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Texas government has passed SB 11 an act “relating to general procedures and requirements for certain do-not-resuscitate orders; creating a criminal offense.” As of April 1, 2018, one can be jailed for offenses involving DNR orders.  …

August 17, 2017

The Aftermath of Charlottesville: What’s a bioethicist to do?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Figuring out how to respond to one of the most egregious displays of racism in modern times (U.S.)  is not an easy task.…

August 3, 2017

Charlie Gard: Three Issues That Did Not Make Social Media

by Ann Mongoven, Ph.D., MPH

All hearts go out to the Gard family in this time of grief for their son, Charlie.…

June 14, 2017

Trump Opioid Task Force Considers HIPAA Exception for Overdoses

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Confidentiality is one of the sacrosanct principles of medicine. By keeping the secrets that patients share with health care providers, the patient trusts the provider and the provider has the information necessary to diagnose and treat.…

June 9, 2017

Trump’s Attack on Science

Some time ago I began to write a blog about support of science, and the role of science in policy and decision making under the Trump administration. While this would seem to be a straightforward task since all of the evidence is amazingly consistent, in fact, it has been difficult. The reason it has been difficult is that each time I compile the sources and information necessary to write this blog something else happens which illustrates starkly the abandonment of the use of science by this administration. At this time, shortly after Trump’s announcement of the United States withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, I am trying to start again. I know it may be futile to expect to cover everything but I am writing anyway. There is no shortage of material. For the purpose of this blog I will focus on the message sent by Trump’s science budget proposals and not seek to be all inclusive. After all, it is the budget proposal which best states the administrations intent. I will also try to touch on the anti-science warriors who have been appointed to high level government positions, including cabinet positions.

While it is attractive to think of science as non-political, science exists in the real world and is, in fact, subject in many ways to political considerations. We have been fortunate that the politicians in Washington including both congress and the executive branch have recognized both the economic and humanitarian benefits of scientific research. They have, with a few exceptions maintained and grown the government’s support of scientific research in both basic and applied fields in both biomedical and other areas of research. This seems now to have changed. Congress fortunately has rescued the 2017 fiscal year science and technology budget from major cuts proposed by the Trump administration. However the administration has proposed draconian cuts for the 2018 fiscal year budget which starts in October 2017. It remains to be seen what that budget looks like when it has been through the Congress.

Trump’s proposed budget includes massive cuts to all federal agencies which support research. He proposes a 22% cut to the National Institutes of Health.  Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration are slated for 30% budget reductions. Other science supporting agencies are expecting cuts of eleven to thirty two per cent. These are huge budget reductions which will cripple labs and institutions conducting science.

Trump has appointed a series of individuals who are most certainly not advocates of science to important science based government positions. This includes climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.  Rick Perry also a climate change skeptic as well as fossil fuel fan is now the head of the Department of Energy. Former CEO of the world’s largest fossil fuel company, Rex Tillerson is now the Secretary of State. Trump consulted with anti-vaccine crusader Robert Kennedy Jr. regarding the establishment of a commission on autism. Eighty five percent of the top science jobs in the federal government lack a Trump nominee.

The role of science as a driver, indeed the driver, of innovation and economic and technological development has been nearly universally acknowledged. We are now moving backward. Our hope lies in the fact that Trump and his cronies cannot kill science. Science is truth and truth will prevail. In the meantime things are pretty much a mess.

The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.  

June 7, 2017

In Calls for Repeal Comes Opportunity for Universal Coverage

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

According to the conservative press, the Affordable Care Act is failing. They point to the number of insurance companies that have withdrawn from the marketplaces including Ohio, where there are 20 counties with no plans available.…

June 1, 2017

When Ideology Trumps Reason, Do The Life Sciences Resist or Capitulate?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The world of the life sciences and medicine is being changed radically in 2017. The proposed Trump budget cuts funding for the CDC, NIH, NSF, NEH, NEA, EPA, and PHS will radically change how science is done, how much science is done and by whom.…

May 23, 2017

Dear Mr. President: It’s Time for Your Bioethics Commission

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week, seven Democratic members of the U.S. House Representatives sent a letter to the White House asking President Trump to appoint a director to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), position that normally serves as the presidential science advisor.…

April 25, 2017

Why I Marched

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This past Saturday, I donned by pink knitted brain hat and joined 40,000 other scientists and allies in Chicago’s Grant Park.…

April 24, 2017

BioethicsTV: Henrietta Lacks and “Mary Kills People”

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This past weekend was a bioethics bonanza when it came to cable television. First, HBO premiered its film version of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, seven years after the book’s original publication.…

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Published Articles (25)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 7 - Jul 2017

Rethinking the Belmont Report? Phoebe Friesen, Lisa Kearns, Barbara Redman & Arthur L. Caplan

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 7 - Jul 2017

A Proposed Process for Reliably Updating the Common Rule Benjamin E. Berkman, David Wendler, Haley K. Sullivan & Christine Grady

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 7 - Jul 2017

At Last! Aye, and There's the Rub Alexander M. Capron

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 7 - Jul 2017

Modernizing Research Regulations Is Not Enough: It's Time to Think Outside the Regulatory Box Suzanne M. Rivera, Kyle B. Brothers, R. Jean Cadigan, Heather L. Harrell, Mark A. Rothstein, Richard R. Sharp & Aaron J. Goldenberg

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 5 - May 2017

Ethics, Refugees, and the President's Executive Order Nancy E. Kass

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 5 - May 2017

Genetic Fingerprints and National Security Beau P. Sperry, Megan Allyse & Richard R. Sharp

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 15 Issue 6 - Jun 2015

U.S. Complicity and Japan's Wartime Medical Atrocities: Time for a Response Katrien Devolder

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 15 Issue 2 - Feb 2015

Ritual Male Infant Circumcision and Human Rights Allan J. Jacobs & Kavita Shah Arora

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 11 Issue 12 - Dec 2011

Personalities, Politics, and Bioethics

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 11 Issue 12 - Dec 2011

Dead Man Walking?Politics, Sr. Helen Prejean, and the Vocation of the Bioethicist

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News (476)

September 8, 2017 9:00 am

Trump finally nominates new leader for NASA (Nature)

James Bridenstine, a Republican member of the US Congress from Oklahoma, has been tapped to be the next head of NASA. Bridenstine is a strong supporter of lunar exploration and commercial space flight.

September 6, 2017 9:00 am

United States to give Ethiopia $91 million in drought aid for food and medicine (Washington Post)

According to USAID spokesman Clayton McCleskey, Green told Desalegn he was concerned that conditions were deteriorating for people affected by the drought and encouraged the government to “show greater leadership and invest more resources to combat a worsening humanitarian crisis.”

September 4, 2017 9:00 am

Young immigrant scientists anxiously await Trump’s DACA decision (Science)

Biomedical researcher Yuriana Aguilar, a postdoctoral fellow at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, is feverishly working to compete in the cut-throat race for a tenure-track faculty position. To catch the eye of prospective employers, she’s been trying to do the best science she can. But Aguilar might soon have to prove she has another qualification: a legal right to work in the United States. That’s because the 27-year-old is one of an untold number of scientists and engineers who are undocumented immigrants, and have been able to get jobs and degrees thanks to a federal initiative that President Donald Trump has threatened to end.

August 18, 2017 9:00 am

Trump’s ‘Emergency’ Declaration For Opioids Could Be A Double-Edged Sword (Huffington Post)

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he plans to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency. Clearly, the massive increase in drug deaths warrant a serious government response. But what does a national emergency actually mean?

July 11, 2017 9:00 am

Trump administration chooses Georgia physician to lead US public-health agency (Nature)

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Brenda Fitzgerald will direct the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price announced on 7 July. She has a deep appreciation and understanding of medicine, public health, policy and leadership — all qualities that will prove vital as she leads the CDC in its work to protect America’s health 24/7,” Price said in a statement.

June 21, 2017 9:00 am

China cracks down on fake peer reviews (Nature)

The Chinese government is going on the offensive against scientists who dupe journals by creating fraudulent reviews of submitted papers. A coalition of agencies led by the science ministry announced on 14 June that the government would suspend the grants of researchers involved in such fraud, which surfaced earlier this year when a cancer journal retracted 107 research papers from Chinese authors. And funding agencies in China promised to increase policing of the scientific community to prevent similar deceptions.

June 20, 2017 10:58 am

Trump ‘simply does not care’ about HIV/AIDS, say 6 experts who just quit his advisory council (Washington Post)

The first hints of an uncertain future for the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS came last year, when Donald Trump’s presidential campaign refused to meet with advocates for people living with HIV, said Scott Schoettes, a member of the council since 2014. That unease was magnified on Inauguration Day in January, when an official White House website for the Office of National AIDS Policy vanished, Schoettes said. Last week, he and five others announced they were quitting the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, also known as PACHA.

June 13, 2017 12:39 pm

University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, said to be in a coma, released from North Korea (Washington Post)

University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier has been medically evacuated from North Korea in a coma after being detained for 17 months, his parents told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

May 29, 2017 9:00 am

House science panel joins Trump in questioning research overhead payments (Science)

A hearing on how the U.S. government defrays the cost of doing federally funded research on college campuses might put most people to sleep. But when budgets are tight, the billions of dollars being spent each year on so-called overhead become an irresistible target for lawmakers. This past Wednesday, the science committee of the U.S. House of Representatives weighed in on the subject, one that is at the core of the U.S. research enterprise but also exceedingly complicated. The hearing gave Republicans an opportunity to voice support for lowering overhead payments, which cover things like electricity, lab maintenance, regulatory compliance, and administration.

April 27, 2017 9:00 am

California’s $3-billion bet on stem cells faces final test (Nature)

When California voters approved US$3 billion in funding for stem-cell research in 2004, biologists flocked to the state, and citizens dreamed of cures for Parkinson’s disease and spinal-cord injuries. Now, the pot of money — one of the biggest state investments in science — is running dry before treatments have emerged, raising questions about whether Californians will pour billions more into stem-cell research.

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