University of Maryland Law Professor Karen Rothenberg is turning to the bright lights of the stage for insight on the implications that genomics and other emerging medical technologies hold for ethics, law, and society.
New technologies such as prenatal screenings can raise troubling questions: Do parents, for instance, have a legal right to control the fate of an unborn child after learning of birth defects or hereditary disease?
Rothenberg explores these and other dilemmas in a recent co-authored paper, Manipulating Fate: Medical Innovations, Ethical Implications, Theatrical Illuminations.
In addition to legal ramifications, the article considers the societal and ethical issues of emerging genomic technology through the prism of 46 highlighted plays. Part of a National Institutes of Health study, the paper itself is structured as a five-act play.
“Theatrical excerpts can give us both distance and insight into difficult social issues,” Rothenberg explains in a recent NIH publication. “They allow us the space to reflect on these complex questions.”
“Our goal is to facilitate interdisciplinary discussion of the promises and perils of scientific innovations,” Rothenberg said. “These include theatrical narratives that explore how emerging genomic technologies influence individuals, family and society over time.”
Rothenberg is the founder of UM Carey Law’s nationally recognized Law & Health Care Program and former Dean of the school. On leave from the law school, she is currently Senior Advisor to the National Human Genome Research Institute Director.
The paper will be published in an upcoming issue of the Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy.