Religious meddling: a comment on Skene and Parker.
The question of churches resorting to the courts to influence public policy is one that concerns the appropriate role of the courts and the appropriate conduct of religious authorities. I agree with Skene and Parker that there is no principled legal reason to exclude such interventions out of hand; but my comments are principally addressed to the political and religious reasons for being rightly concerned about such activity. These advert both to the nature of the liberal democratic compromise and to the nature and scope of religious authority (at least within Christianity). (+info)
The role of the church in developing the law: an Islamic response.
The concept of Hisba in Muslim law has been used by members of certain Islamic groups to impose, through the courts, limitations on freedom of expression. In so doing they sought to circumvent the right of parliament to legislate on matters of personal freedom. This device is now restricted by the Egyptian authorities. (+info)
Commentary on Skene and Parker: the role of the church in developing the law.
Skene and Parker are demonstrably mistaken in suggesting that the amicus role of Catholic bishops in three cases has been concerned with "developing" the law. In contrast with Skene and Parker's freestanding conception of legal principle, the Catholic understanding of law's rational moral foundations has permitted Catholic bishops to defend longstanding legal principle as well as defending the integrity of the church's health care and welfare services. It is shown that in the three cases under discussion Catholic bishops were providing needed argument otherwise unavailable to the courts in defence of existing statute. In face of the attempts by pressure groups to bypass the legislature and use the courts to subvert fundamental legal principles, the church is perhaps uniquely capable of continuing to provide to the courts rational defences of those principles. (+info)
Democracy, embryonic stem cell research, and the Roman Catholic church.
The Roman Catholic Church in Australia has lobbied politicians to prohibit embryonic stem cell research, on the grounds that such research violates the sanctity and inherent dignity of human life. I suggest, however, that reasoned reflection does not uniquely support such conclusions about the morality of stem cell research. A recent parliamentary standing committee report recommended that embryonic stem cell research be allowed to proceed in certain circumstances, and there appears to be widespread support in the Australian community for this position. I argue that the moral value of democracy requires parliamentarians to acknowledge the informed views of the wider community here, and to resist lobbying by church leaders on this issue. (+info)
The case for diversity in the health care workforce.
Increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of the health care workforce is essential for the adequate provision of culturally competent care to our nation's burgeoning minority communities. A diverse health care workforce will help to expand health care access for the underserved, foster research in neglected areas of societal need, and enrich the pool of managers and policymakers to meet the needs of a diverse populace. The long-term solution to achieving adequate diversity in the health professions depends upon fundamental reforms of our country's precollege education system. Until these reforms occur, affirmative action tools in health professions schools are critical to achieving a diverse health care workforce. (+info)
Public health law in an age of terrorism: rethinking individual rights and common goods.
The balance between individual interests and common goods needs to be recalibrated in an age of terrorism. Public health agencies should have a robust infrastructure to conduct essential public health services at a level of performance that matches evolving threats to the health of the public. This includes a well-trained workforce, electronic information, surveillance, and laboratory capacity. This paper explains modern efforts at public health law reform: a Model Public Health Statute and the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA), which has been enacted wholly or in part by nineteen states and the District of Columbia. Next, the paper shows why existing public health laws provide a weak foundation for public health practice. Finally, the paper offers a systematic defense of MSEHPA, which has galvanized the public debate around the appropriate balance between public goods and individual rights. (+info)
Bioterrorism, public health, and the law.
The controversy over the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act has underscored the enduring tension in public health between guarding the common welfare and respecting individual liberty. The current version of the act, crafted in response to extensive public commentary, attempts to strike a balance between these values but has failed to allay the concerns of many civil libertarians and privacy advocates. Although the debates over the model act have been triggered by the threat of bioterrorism, they illustrate broader philosophical differences, with profound implications for all realms of public health policy. (+info)
Public health law: a communitarian perspective.
American society has often favored individual rights disproportionately over the common good. In the aftermath of September 11, there is a need to readjust our criteria to allow for the strengthening of security, public safety, and public health policies. At the same time, we must assure that liberties are not trampled in the service of the common good. Clear criteria are needed to help determine when the proper balance has been reached. Although we should not expect that every public health policy will affect all members of society in exactly the same way, thought must be given to ways of compensating groups that are burdened more than others by a policy. (+info)