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Jacob M. Appel

Entries by Jacob M. Appel

Want a Gun? Get a Prescription!

(117) Comments | Posted January 9, 2011 | 9:16 AM

One of the positive consequences of this weekend's "Safeway Massacre" in which Judge John Roll was killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critically injured -- if it is even possible to speak of silver linings after such a horrific event -- appears to be a backlash against hateful political rhetoric. Another...

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Tempest in a Womb: What's Wrong With Preventing (Or Promoting) Homosexuality In Utero?

(103) Comments | Posted July 22, 2010 | 12:33 AM

Gay rights advocates have for many years advanced the case, quite persuasively, that sexual orientation is largely biologically determined. The political advantage of such a position is clear: If sexual orientation reflects an intrinsic attribute like skin pigmentation, rather than merely a form of chosen conduct, then arguing that homosexuals...

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Rational Rationing vs. Irrational Rationing: The Struggle for the Legacy of Ruben Betancourt

(13) Comments | Posted June 23, 2010 | 3:36 AM

President Obama's nomination of the bold and brilliant pediatrician Donald Berwick, a leading proponent of an "eyes open" approach to the allocation of healthcare resources, to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, strongly suggests that our medical system may soon welcome a new era of rational...

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Are We Ready for Coed Hospital Rooms?

(14) Comments | Posted June 18, 2010 | 7:23 PM

Long emergency room stays are one of the most unpleasant and potentially dangerous aspects of healthcare delivery in most western nations. In recent years, Canada has addressed this problem, in part, by permitted male and female patients to share hospital rooms, separated by a privacy curtain, in the belief that...

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Are Breasts a Right or a Privilege?

(47) Comments | Posted May 30, 2010 | 1:38 PM

Although the National Health Service in Great Britain has paid for gender reassignment surgery for transsexuals since 1999, at a cost of approximately £10,000 per procedure, precisely how much masculinization or feminization should be funded by the taxpayers remains a matter of ongoing controversy. Many patients with Gender Identity Disorder...

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After St. Joseph's: Are Women Still Safe in Catholic Hospitals?

(537) Comments | Posted May 16, 2010 | 9:23 PM

One of the defining and moderating aspects of the contemporary American debate surrounding the legalization of abortion is that the controversy only applies to elective procedures where the life of the mother is not in serious jeopardy. In contrast, the right of a woman to choose her own life over...

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Transcending Ovaries: Toward Male Equality in the Abortion Debate

(375) Comments | Posted May 1, 2010 | 6:09 PM

During last week's heated debate in Florida's House of Representatives over a misguided measure to require pregnant woman to pay for an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion, Representative Janet Long of Tampa, a progressive and highly-regarded member of the Democratic caucus, made a statement in opposition to the bill that...

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Reproductive Fraud? Sham Pregnancy Centers Face Pushback

(57) Comments | Posted April 3, 2010 | 9:33 PM

For women in large swaths of the American heartland, the greatest challenges to obtaining an abortion are finding a nearby provider, paying for the procedure, and then wading through the slough of legal impediments (eg. 24-hour waiting periods, lectures on the biology of the fetus) erected by anti-abortion state legislatures....

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Sexism and the Price of Eggs

(4) Comments | Posted March 31, 2010 | 8:07 PM

While the sale of solid organs has been illegal in the United States since 1984, compensation for sperm and eggs has been permitted under the guise of compensating "donors" for the time, exertion and risk entailed in the harvesting process. No legislation yet places any specific limits on such remuneration....

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Scavenging for Organs: Why the Donor Famine Justifies A Radical Harvest

(3) Comments | Posted March 15, 2010 | 2:09 PM

As of this morning, the United Network for Organ Sharing reports that 106,371 Americans are waiting for life-saving or life-prolonging organs. Approximately eighteen of those desperate individuals die each day without a transplant. According to the National Kidney Foundation, patients who died for lack of available donor organs in 2008...

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Should Children Have A Right to Die?

(1) Comments | Posted March 3, 2010 | 1:21 PM

Advocates for aid-in-dying have largely focused their efforts on the rights of mentally-competent adults to end their lives when and how they wish. The two states that have legalized physician-assisted termination via statute, Oregon and Washington, explicitly limit the practice to terminally-ill patients over the age of eighteen. Such an...

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Pope vs. Doctors: How New Vatican Orthodoxy Undermines Medical Ethics and Imperils Your Health

(18) Comments | Posted February 10, 2010 | 4:31 PM

Catholic hospitals, which boast a long and admirable history of caring for the seriously ill and indigent in the United States, have for many years finessed the challenges of serving two disparate and often incompatible masters. On the one hand, the nation's 573 Church-run hospitals and their physicians are not...

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Medical Kidnapping: Rogue Obstetricians vs. Pregnant Women

(48) Comments | Posted January 24, 2010 | 2:30 AM

Often one reads about historical failures in medical ethics, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study or the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck, and one reflects with relief that health care has progressed in our society to the point where such abuses are no longer possible. Then one stumbles upon an...

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Doubling Down on Baby M: New Jersey's Ongoing Resistance to Surrogacy

(2) Comments | Posted January 3, 2010 | 9:54 PM

Every first-year law student learns the adage that "hard cases make bad law." Occasionally, state judges and legislatures manage to do likewise. That is certainly the result of a recent Superior Court ruling in New Jersey that vastly expands the precedent of the already highly-misguided Baby M decision of 1988,...

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Embracing Teenage Sexuality: Let's Rethink the Age of Consent

(226) Comments | Posted January 1, 2010 | 4:45 PM

At the opening of America's iconic (albeit controversial) romance epic, Gone With the Wind, 16-year-old Scarlett O'Hara fends off flirtatious propositions from the 19-year-old Tarleton twins -- a moment rendered indelible in the subsequent film by the gifted actors Fred Crane and George Reeves. I suspect few of the countless...

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Revenge of the Sperm Donors

(223) Comments | Posted December 27, 2009 | 6:38 PM

Ever since 1884, when Professor William Pencoast of Philadelphia's Jefferson Medical College requested a semen sample of his "best looking" medical student in order to impregnate the child-seeking wife of a sterile Quaker merchant, sperm donation has held out the promise of parenting to infertile spouses, choice mothers and lesbian...

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What I Want For Christmas: Mass Clemency

(30) Comments | Posted December 23, 2009 | 8:41 PM

The United States Constitution and the laws of most states permit the President and governors to issue pardons and commutations, a prerogative frequently exercised during the winter holiday season. Unfortunately, with a few laudable exceptions, our chief executives have displayed considerable stinginess--and even outright political cowardice--in exercising this remarkable power....

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Beyond Fluoride: Pharmaceuticals, Drinking Water and the Public Health

(48) Comments | Posted December 21, 2009 | 12:39 AM

This week's New York Times Magazine draws attention to an article in The British Journal of Psychiatry that has been the talk of bioethical circles since May, when researchers at Japan's Oita University reported that communities with increased levels of lithium in their drinking water suffered a significantly lower incidence...

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Auschwitz Revisited: The Holocaust and the Abortion Debate

(65) Comments | Posted December 5, 2009 | 8:25 PM

Stephanie Gray, a Canadian anti-abortion activist, has been touring American and Canadian college campuses with a rather chilling message: Legalized abortion isn't merely a grievous wrong, but a calculated genocide morally indistinguishable from the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust. During a sparsely-attended lecture delivered at Columbia University on November 16, and entitled, "Echoes...

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The Rom Houben Tragedy And The Case For Active Euthanasia

(9) Comments | Posted November 24, 2009 | 9:33 PM

Opponents of the right to die appeared to savor a public relations victory with the reported "rebirth" of car-crash victim Rom Houben, a forty-six year old Belgian man who is said to have spent twenty-three years trapped immobile in his own body. Dr. Steven Laureys, a leading neurologist and well-respected...

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