Aug 23, 2012

Preference should go to real, rational women

In the Dominican Republic last month, a pregnant teenager suffering from leukemia had her chemotherapy delayed, because doctors feared that the treatment could terminate her pregnancy and therefore violate the nation’s strict anti-abortion law. After consultations between doctors, lawyers, and the girl’s family, chemotherapy ...

Jun 14, 2012

Rampant use and abuse of religious freedom

What are the proper limits of religious freedom? Marianne Thieme, leader of the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands, offers this answer: “Religious freedom stops where human or animal suffering begins.” The Party for the Animals, the only animal-rights party to be represented ...

May 14, 2012

Are humans getting better at beating violence?

With daily headlines focusing on war, terrorism and the abuses of repressive governments, and religious leaders frequently bemoaning declining standards of public and private behavior, it is easy to get the impression that we are witnessing a moral collapse. But I think that we ...

Apr 24, 2012

How much should one's birth gender matter?

Jenna Talackova reached the finals of Miss Universe Canada last month, before being disqualified because she was not a “natural born” female. The tall, beautiful blonde told the media that she had considered herself a female since she was four years old, had begun ...

Feb 16, 2012

Use law enforcement and fees to sink Net pirates

Last year, I told a colleague that I would include Internet ethics in a course that I was teaching. She suggested that I read a recently published anthology on computer ethics — and attached the entire volume to the email. Should I have refused ...

Jan 19, 2012

Commitment hatched Europe's ethical eggs

Forty years ago, I stood with a few other students in a busy Oxford street handing out leaflets protesting the use of battery cages to hold hens. Most of those who took the leaflets did not know that their eggs came from hens kept ...

Nov 17, 2011

Time to ban world's deadliest recreational drug

U.S. President Barack Obama’s doctor confirmed last month that the president no longer smokes. At the urging of his wife, Michelle Obama, the president first resolved to stop smoking in 2006, and has used nicotine replacement therapy to help him. If it took Obama, ...

Oct 17, 2011

Unjustness of death penalty underlined again

Three significant events relating to the death penalty occurred in the United States during September. The one that gained the most publicity was the execution in Georgia of Troy Davis, who had been convicted of the 1989 murder of Mark McPhail, an off-duty police ...

Aug 13, 2011

Toward a planet safe for great apes

Two new movies released this month — one a science-fiction blockbuster, the other a revealing documentary — raise the issue of our relations with our closest nonhuman relatives, the great apes. Both dramatize insights and lessons that should not be ignored. Rupert Wyatt’s “Rise ...