Category: 2019

2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

Trump Administration ACA Revisions Result in Further Stigmatization of those with Disabilities

KAITLIN BALLENGER

This paper was written as a response to a specific news article and is my personal opinion on this topic rather than a deeply researched academic paper. The Washington Post article titled “For the disabled, a doctor’s visit can be literally an obstacle course – and the laws can’t help” spoke about the lasting physical and emotional effects of cutting back on certain regulations that could help those with disabilities specifically in terms of their doctor visits and medical equity. These were a result of proposed revisions by the Trump Administration regarding the Affordable Care Act. These revisions to the Affordable Care are limiting and essentially denying care for those with disabilities. Further reading of this article elucidated specific ethical issues that could span many discussions, however, this paper will focus on two of its central ethical issues. The first includes the perception of disabilities as stigmatizing conditions due to medical resource allocation. The second ethical issue looks at the difference between treatment and enhancement interventions in terms of those with disabilities.

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2019, Academic Paper

A Window to the Womb: Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) and the Role of a Genetic Counselor in Ensuring Informed Consent

AUDREY BISCHOFF

With the evolution of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), we now have a safer and more accurate alternative to invasive prenatal testing, allowing expecting parents to clearly see into the womb and assess the health of their fetus. NIPT evaluates free-floating fetal DNA in a mother’s blood sample and tests it for fetal anomalies or genetic conditions. The test usually analyzes chromosomal conditions such as Down syndrome, but it can also be used to test for sex-linked and single-gene disorders, giving anxious parents vital insight into the development of their child.

While NIPT has amazingly advanced our methods of assessing fetal status, ethical opposition to the technology is centered on how it may be overwhelmingly informational, ironically compromising informed consent, ultimately influencing the progress of family-planning or reproductive decisions, such as abortion. Another concern is that while NIPT boasts more accuracy than invasive testing, the test still has resulted in inaccuracy, the margins of which are widely understated. Although parents should always have the right to prenatal testing and their resulting reproductive decisions, this paper recognizes the validity of these ethical concerns and calls for a shift in the process of prenatal testing. Specifically, the process of prenatal testing should mandate consultation with a genetic counselor, who not only helps parents weed out the information they would like to obtain from the test but who also is trained to impartially help the patient interpret results and understand the existing uncertainties of this revolutionary test. This solution establishes a foundation for NIPT that guarantees both conditions of reproductive autonomy and informed consent for the patient, and it allows this new technology to be utilized most ethically and effectively.

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2019, Journalistic Reporting

Carving Spaces for WOC Mental Health Support

OMARIS CACERES

The goal of this journalistic piece is to explore the ways that women of color are limited by cultural stigma and expectations when seeking mental health resources. The perspective is written from my personal cultural perspective coming from family for the Dominican Republic and being the first generation of family members born in the U.S. I address my experiences seeking mental health resources by linking cultural norms with the limitations I had to overcome. The article also presents the way that women in my family have created their own informal therapy spaces that have now become cultural norms, such as discussion circles and check-ins over the phone. Keeping these cultural practices in mind, I displayed how those cultural practices have translated into the ways that I have sought support as a student at Georgetown within my own communities. The article ends with a call to combat stigma surrounding mental health resources and encouraging informal therapy spaces for those who cannot access the formal forms.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

Redefining Health and Wholeness: BIID Orders an Assessment of Identity and Autonomy

EMILY JASTER

Body Integrity Identity Disorder, or BIID, has been hotly contested in recent decades for its potential for radically redefining how health is defined in the modern world: in most of the (exceedingly rare) documented cases, patients exhibiting no other symptoms of psychosis demand the removal of healthy limbs on the basis that, although the patients outwardly appear to be physically healthy, able-bodied individuals, their true identities align with the identities of amputees. That is, to BIID patients, at least one of their seemingly-healthy limbs feels painfully alien to them, and the dissonance between their outward physicalities and internal identities is similarly painful.

To dissect how BIID, if the medical is to accept BIID as valid condition that is treatable by amputation, might influence evolving modern concepts of health, it is helpful to analyze the condition through the lense of identity—which links to the prima facie moral imperative to respect patient autonomy. This paper compiles the existing medical and ethical research related to BIID—which is scarce—to analyze their relation to identity and potentially individualized definitions of health—perhaps suggesting that the older and more traditional definitions of health and wholeness are the products of narrow viewpoints, lacking in and ignorant of the perspectives of afflicted patients.

In light of how definitions of health and wholeness relate to identity, but also in careful recognition that the medical community’s understanding of BIID is severely limited, the final section of my paper outlines a potential process through which doctors may begin to evaluate and treat patients of possible BIID diagnoses, centering on respect for autonomy and opening the gate to a broader discussion on defining health in an open-minded world.

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2019, Academic Paper

Mental Illness And Meta Consent

GWYNIE DUNLEVY

This paper looks into Thomas Ploug and Søren Holm idea of Meta Consent. This form of consent allows you to plan out your future consent methods by choosing between the specific consent method or the broad consent method. Ploug and Holm briefly bring up the idea of regular check ins with the participants, but don’t see it as the biggest concern. I believe that not only should they see check ins as mandatory, but they should also look at how mental health can affect ones choices for their future. If someone has a mental illness they should have more regular check ins than someone who doesn’t. Mental illness is regularly over looked in everyday life, and if we have to make decisions for our future consent, I believe that looking into mental health should be a top concern.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

A Problem of Conscience

BRIAN BRITT

A new proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services seeks to protect the religious freedoms of healthcare providers in the United States by making it more difficult for hospitals to punish physicians who refuse to provide treatment to their patients on religious or moral grounds. This paper attempts to make sense of the complicated issue of the conscience clause in modern medicine, arguing that conscience objections should only be exercised in non-emergency situations where patients can be easily referred to a willing physician without significant additional burden or degradation in the quality of their care. Patients have a right to just and equal access to healthcare when healthcare is needed and physicians have a duty to provide this care, regardless of who is seeking it. Any exercise of the conscience clause that hinders healthcare equity and causes undue harm should be punished.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

Power, Property, and Responsibility to Pay

ANNY ANGEL

This paper is an effort to put forth a philosophy of climate mitigation action based on the so-called “ability-to-pay” principle, positing that those with the capacity to contribute to mitigative action on climate change MUST do so out of ethical duty. My thesis is blatantly idealistic and pragmatically unrealistic, but ethically grounded in its social effects, communal view of property, and translation of power to duty. I hope this argument can represent an ideal of collective action and collective responsibility, while also recognizing and allowing for the many socioeconomic or situational barriers to individual and national mitigative contribution.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

Alternative Approaches to Distributive Justice

LONDON DILLER

In an age where continued attempts to solve the world’s largest collective action problem have failed to have any meaningful impact, there is no place for arbitrary concessions of guilt. The consequences are too vast and yet unknown to spend time meting out responsibilities and duties to those who do not claim responsibility as their own. This has largely been the practice in climate negotiations up to this point, all of which have failed rather largely to prevent further warming of the planet. Both the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Climate Agreement, two of the largest climate agreements in history, have not been able to solve the collective action problem that is climate change. I argue that, thus far, climate agreements have been ineffective because of both their accusatory nature and also the fear of the free rider problem. Because of these two issues, I argue that ability and willingness to pay are much more practical, relevant lenses for approaching climate negotiations, despite the moral soundness of the polluter pays principle.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

Climate Change Is Not a Matter of Self-Interest

DUSTIN HARTUV

Julie A. Nelson, in her essay “Climate Change and Economic Self-Interest,” examines how people in general are not guided solely by self-interest, but by other traits such as fairness as well. The idea that people are only guided by self-interest becomes a problem in the realm of climate change agreements, according to her, as they are generally centered around promoting only the self-interest of nations, and not passions people truly care about who live in these countries. I expand upon her idea, detailing exactly why future climate change agreements must pivot away from the notion of economic self-interest. I begin by examining past climage change agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol, and how their insistence on self-interest has led to their immediate and undisputable failures. I then expound upon Nelson’s argument, and rebut any potential objections regarding it. Finally, I discuss how these ideas can be implemented into future climate change agreements, and how these agreements will benefit from a change in focus.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude” – Scott Hamilton: Helpful or Harmful?

SARA Misiukiewicz

In this paper, I examined if the statement from Scott Hamilton, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude” was a good way to think about disability. This statement can be perceived as an inspirational and/or motivational, but I argue that it is an incorrect, narrow-minded account of disability that does more harm to the disability community than good. Acceptance of such a claim will negatively add to the narrative of disability, ultimately undermining the agency of those within the disability community. To prevent the generalization of people’s experience with disability and ensure adequate accommodations are available, such statements must be rejected.

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