May 8, 2013
ATLANTA – This spring the Student Health Law Association proudly hosted the 7th annual Bioethics at the Movies. Open to all students at the College of Law, the series features clips from movies and television and discussion on a wide range of topics in bioethics guided by health law faculty. Past themes have included vaccination, human cloning, genetic enhancement, and the seemingly limitless bounds of developing biotechnology.
This year associate professor Jessica Gabel kicked off with scenes from the hit movie "The Hunger Games" by asking "Is reality TV getting too hungry?" Students considered the future of reality television and whether it is just a matter of time before we air events like executions. Students also discussed the scope of consent when individuals agree to participate in reality programming and whether they are truly informed about what they are getting into.
The following week, students discussed medical tourism and other health issues raised by "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Led by professor Leslie Wolf, students considered the health law hazards and ethical concerns raised when patients travel to other areas of the world for treatment, such as differing standards of care, liability of doctors or facilities should problems arise, and motive of providers.
Newer health law faculty members joined the series as well. Assistant professors Erin Fuse Brown and Courtney Anderson teamed up to review clips from the comedy "Baby Mama." Students debated bioethical issues concerning reproductive rights created by surrogacy from the perspective of those with a business interest, the surrogate mother, and mothers hoping for a child. Students also examined treatment of healthy food choices in the movie.
Assistant professor Yaniv Heled closed out this year's series with scenes from the wildly popular TV show, "The Walking Dead." Heled began his lunchtime session with a warning for those with sensitive stomachs: "This is going to get gory!" The show encouraged student dialog on the legal issues raised by epidemics, allocation of resources, and the state of the law in a world where the social and legal structure has broken down. The show is partially filmed in Atlanta, and Heled ended with a clip that included the Georgia State campus and the building site for the future Georgia State University College of Law.
Bioethics at the Movies is one of the most popular series among students, as explained by law student Zan Patorgis (JD '13). "I have enjoyed being able to catch one or two of these lunches each year," said Patorgis, "and the clips we watch get me thinking about issues that I may not have fully considered the first time around."
Stacie P. Kershner, JD
Associate Director, Center for Law, Health & Society