Nuremberg and the Issue of Wartime Experiments on US Prisoners

The Green Committee

Jon M. Harkness

Journal of the American Medical Association


Defense attorneys at the Nuremberg Medical Trial argued that no ethical difference existed between experiments in Nazi Concentration camps and research in U.S. prisons. Investigations that had taken place in an Illinois prison became an early focus of this argument. Andrew C. Ivy, MD, whom the American Medical Association had selected as a consultant to the Nuremeberg prosecutors, responded to courtroom crticisim of research in his home state by encouraging the Illinois governor to establish a committee to evaluate prison research. The governor names a committee and accepted Ivy’s offer to chair the panel. Late in the trial, Ivy testified – drawing on the authority of this committee – that research on Us prisoners was ethically ideal. However, the governor’s committee had never met. After the trial’s conclusion, the report was published in JAMA, where it became a source of support for experimentation on prisoners.

Harkness J. Nuremberg and the Issue of Wartime Experiments on US Prisoners: The Green Committee. JAMA. 1996;276(20):1672–1675. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540200058032

Freedom of conscience, professional responsibility, and access to abortion

Rebecca S. Dresser

The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics

Acess to abortion is becoming increasingly restricted for many women in the United States.  Besides the longstanding financial barriers facing low-income women in most states, a newer source of scar­ city has emerged. The relatively small  number of physicians willing to perform the procedure is compromising the ability of women in  certain parts of the country to obtain an abortion. Do physicians have a duty to respond to this situation? Do they have a professional responsibility  to ensure that abortions are reasonably available to the women who want to terminate their  pregnancies? Or, is abortion so morally and socially controversial as to remove any professional  obligation to provide reasonable access?

Dresser RS. Freedom of conscience, professional responsibility, and access to abortion. J Law Med Ethics 1994 Fall;22(3):280-5.