In Defense of Political Trials

By Charles F. Abel; Frank H. Marsh et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
Political Trials, Science, and Religion: Politics and Medical Science

Nowhere is the confrontation between politics, religion, and science more intense than in the fields of medicine and health care. Such scientific advances in the technology of the biological sciences as test tube babies, genetic recombination, the "morning after" pill (RU-846), and the Human Genome Project have promoted visions of power over death, disease, suffering, and the future of human society. Our developing ability to manipulate genes has resurrected the idea that messy moral, political, and economic issues might be resolved by substituting the right nucleotide in the cells of miscreants, dissidents, and the poor. For example, when asked why federal funds given to the Human Genome Project should not be given instead to the homeless, Daniel Koshland, the editor of Science magazine, replied, "What these people don't realize is that the homeless are impaired. . . . Indeed, no group will benefit more from the application of human genetics."1

At the same time, the effectiveness of modern birth control technologies and the safety of modern abortion procedures has pushed family issues in general and abortion law in particular into the political limelight as part of the "New Religious Right's" program for social reform. The "cult of the playboy" and the freedom of women to experiment sexually outside marriage are seen by coalitions of conservative Protestants and Catholics as the undesirable effects of modern birth control methods and the dissemination of birth control information. Not only are these methods and this information understood to encourage evil behavior, but such information and its concomitant behavior are seen as threatening the family's position as the "fundamental building block of society." This threat is intensified by the ready

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In Defense of Political Trials
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter One - The Ubiquitous Political Trial 1
  • Notes 26
  • Chapter Two - Contrasting Theories of the Political Trial 31
  • Notes 48
  • Chapter Three - Defining and Evaluating Political Trials 51
  • Notes 72
  • Chapter Four - Justifying Political Trials 77
  • Notes 98
  • Chapter Five - Political Trials, Science, and Religion: the Proper Relationship Between Church and State 101
  • Notes 120
  • Chapter Six - Political Trials, Science, and Religion: Politics and Medical Science 123
  • Notes 140
  • Cases Cited 143
  • Bibliography 147
  • Index 151
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