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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Bioethics and Law Seminar: The Constitution and Bioethics (Fall 2017)

Course Description

This seminar covers Constitutional and related legal issues concerning certain biomedical technologies.  These issues are often particularly distinctive because the sharp revision of basic life processes challenges—and thus illuminates—the constitutional and legal doctrines and their embedded values.  The overlapping fields covered vary from semester to semester.  In the fall 2017 semester, we will consider reproductive and genetic control, including innovative procreative mechanisms and relationships such as surrogacy, posthumous reproduction, stored embryos, artificial gestation, “3-parent” gametic sources, genetic screening, germ line modification, and cloning.  We will also address human mental and physical enhancement issues, including impacts on access to education, employment, and the military.  Time permitting, we will also investigate behavior control—custodial regulation and biological modalities of treatment, within and outside of institutions and issues in neuroethics.  Other topics within bioethics will be referred to but will not be considered at length this semester.  However, students may write papers on any bioethics topics, including death and dying, organ transplantation and artificial organs, and biomedical research and experimentation.  In addition to problems in constitutional law, we will encounter issues in civil rights, torts, contracts, property, criminal law, and administrative law.  The textbook is Shapiro et al., Bioethics and Law.  Copies can be checked out for the semester from the Law Library.

Paper:  Average paper length for 2 unit course-20 pages, but this is not a rigid limit.  Students must clear the topic with me.  An advance outline is strongly enrcouraged.  Papers are due on the last day of finals and should be permitte both as email attachments and a hard copy to me.  Time permitting, students may discuss their papers-in-progress in class.

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 2
  • Grading Options: Numerical Only
  • Schedule: W 2:00 pm - 3:50 pm
  • Room Number: Room 106
  • Exam: Paper
  • Writing Requirement: Yes with submission of the Upper Division Writing Requirement Form.
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: No
  • Participation: Points will be awarded