Fall 2003
Fully Enrolled

Leading Issues in Bioethics, Public Policy, and the Law


09/08/2003 - 12/13/2003
Tuesday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Public Affairs Center 136

Developments in biotechnology and the life sciences have called into question existing legal and policy approaches with respect to reproduction, health care, informed consent, privacy, medical futility and end-of-life decisions, along with a host of other issues. Relentless and rapid change in science and technology influences existing concepts of the self and its boundaries, family structure, property ownership, and the ethical and legal rights and obligations of people with respect to the government.

This course examines leading issues in bioethics, public policy and law in relation to these recent developments in medicine and the life sciences. After tracing the historical background of bioethical issues and law and deciding on methods of legal and ethical analysis, we will examine the ways in which these developments challenge traditional principles and policies.

In addition to key issues involving the physician-patient relationship, reproduction, research and experimentation using human subjects, and the end-of-life, including the special problems raised by Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias, we will consider some or all of the following subjects: genetic testing, screening, and engineering, biotechnology, organ transplantation and allocation, neuroscience and neuroethics, ownership and the commodifying of life, stem cell research, and health care. Recent and ongoing legal cases and controversies will be closely followed along with other current developments in bioethics.

The focus of this course involves critical examination of issues in their legal, ethical, social, economic, scientific, political, and religious context. We will evaluate the ethical questions raised, and explore the feasibility and effectiveness of legal and policy regulation. An important goal of the course is to encourage each student to develop a sound methodology of analyzing bioethical problems from legal, policy, and ethical perspectives.

Barry Schaller (B.A. Yale College; J.D. Yale Law School) is justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, retired, who currently sits on the Connecticut Appellate Court. Barry is author of A Vision of American Law: Judging Law, Literature, and the Stories We Tell (1997, and Understanding Bioethics and the Law: The Promises and Perils of the Brave New World of Biotechnology (2007). Barry received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Quinnipiac Law School in 2008, and currently serves as Chair of the Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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