That's the question posed by leading bioethicists at Duke University Medical Center, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities, who say it's time to confront the challenges that have led to the exclusion of pregnant women from important research that could positively impact maternal and fetal health.
"Only in the last two decades did people recognize that women were being excluded not just from the risks, but from the benefits of research -- primarily because of their potential to become pregnant or because of concerns that female physiology - such as menstrual cycles - might complicate study results," says Anne Drapkin Lyerly, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist and medical ethicist at Duke.
She is the lead author of a paper appearing online and then in print in the November 2008 edition of the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics detailing the justifications for responsibly including pregnant women in research. "While we've made significant progress in correcting the gender imbalance, we have a long way to go in protecting the health and safety of pregnant women and the fetuses they carry."
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FAB is an international organisation of feminist bioethicists.
Feminist bioethicists engage with issues in health care and the biosciences from feminist viewpoints. FAB has members in countries in five continents.
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