HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Kass on the Hot Seat?

On March 8, Washington Post reporter Rick Weiss wrote that Leon Kass, chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, had spearheaded (with Eric Cohen, editor of The New Atlantis) a "loose-knit group of about a dozen people" who had "been meeting since December . . . to devise 'a bold and plausible "offensive" bioethics agenda' to replace a congressional strategy that has been 'too narrowly focused and insufficiently ambitious.'"  ("Conservatives Draft a 'Bioethics Agenda' for President"

Today, the Post reports that Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) "yesterday requested that the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services investigate . . . . whether Kass acted inappropriately by helping to lead an effort to craft a legislative 'agenda' for Congress that would place new restrictions on embryo research and other areas of reproductive science." 

Whether you're a fan of Kass' or not, and whether or not you think he checked his First Amendment rights at the door when he accepted the chairmanship of the PCOB, working on an ostensibly political bioethics agenda seems an extraordinarily risky move by Kass that does not put the PCOB or his leadership in a particularly flattering light.   [tm]

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