Lines That Divide

Untangling Moral Complexities Related to Fetal Tissue Research

Dr. Susan Mackinnon, an internationally renowned nerve surgeon, sometimes consults a medical textbook written and illustrated by Nazis who used specimens from their victims in their research. She did not know about the book's sordid history until she came across essays by Gerald Weissman and David Williams. This posed a moral dilemma: The Atlas of Topographical and Applied Human Anatomy is still considered one of the best medical reference works on the peripheral nervous system because of its exquisite illustrations.1 It has helped Mackinnon during difficult surgeries, but its origins are morally abhorrent. Mackinnon's dilemma is not unique, but it is illustrative of a broader ethical question about complicity...


has an M.S. in chemistry from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an M.A. in bioethics from Trinity International University. She resides in Dallas and currently works as a freelance science writer and educator.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #61, Summer 2022 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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