Pursuing Reform in Clinical Research: Lessons from Women's Experience

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 27 (2):158-170 (1999)
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In a White House ceremony on May 16, 1997, President Clinton issued an apology on behalf of the nation for the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, a forty-year research project in which African-American men were deceived and denied treatment in order to document the natural course of syphilis. Reflection on this occasion can give us pause to take pride in the progress made toward more ethical research with humans. The President's apology is perhaps the most public of a number of recent events representing a renewed attention to ethics in research with human participants. Alongside it stand the efforts of treatment activists for people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the revelations of the human radiation experiments. In 1995, President Clinton called for the creation of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, which was charged with a host of projects aimed at investigating the organization and function of the federal system for overseeing human subjects research in the United States, and giving guidance on specific forms of research.



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Lisa Eckenwiler
George Mason University

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