Bioethics and Public Policy
This course examines the legal regulation of medical decision-making. The central focus is private decision-making by individuals, but public decision-making about the allocation of medical services will also be addressed. Specific topics include the doctrine of informed consent, decision-making for incompetent patients, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, reproductive decision-making, and the sale/donation of body parts and services. In examining these various issues, students will consider the extent, content, and consistency of current law, the factual assumptions and policy goals on which legal regulation is based, the impact of technological innovation, and directions for legal reform.
Grading and Method of Evaluation:
Letter grade with pass/fail option. Some faculty teaching the course will allow students, with the instructors permission, to write a paper to satisfy the Upperclass Writing Requirement in lieu of taking a final examination. Students are advised to check the teaching schedule for details.