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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

When Political Correctness Gets in the Way 

Now, the medical/research community has begun to focus on mens health, but by framing it as addressing a 'health disparity,' leaders of the movement may find themselves on the receiving end of a bit too much bad press from womens' groups*. Come on ladies, do you really look forward to dealing with an invalid husband?
The Post article is full of all kinds of fluff, but the message is this: men more vulnerable to almost every disease, and have, on average, much shorter life expectancies than women, and successful campaigns like those used for breast cancer and womens' heart disease and depression are needed to explain and address these differences.

Speaking of people who take things too far: animal rights activists - who often have good things to add to ethical discussions - have grown more and more violent in recent years. Animal research is, unfortunately, critical to medical and scientific advancement (without it I, like many others, would not be alive/healthy); use of computer models is a great idea, but we simply don't know enough about how life works to model it effectively in 99.99% of cases. In those few cases where computer modeling would be effective, IRB and IUCAC regulations ensure that it is.

Animal rights activists have been bombing animal research facilities, killing researchers, and even threatening/harming animal researchers' families, friends, and neighbors. Due to hard work by the National Association for Biomedical Research, both houses of Congress have passed S.3880, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which will (assuming it's signed) explicitly prohibit these activities.

I worry about the constitutionality of singling out such a specific group of actors for already-mostly-illegal activities: while a more explicit law is clearly needed, targeting it at animal rights terrorists specifically, rather than terrorists generally, I wonder if could be problematic from a 5th Amendment standpoint. Still, I think it's fantastic that this law got passed, and my proposal to animal rights extremists remains the same: I will take you seriously when you decline any and all medical services or everyday conveniences developed thanks to animal research. That's right: no antibiotics after penicillin, no nontoxic sutures, no bypass surgery, no liposuction, no botox. No Advil either.

* Who have an unfortunate habit of interpreting anything done for men as being something done against women.

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