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Glenn Cohen

  • Students enjoying picnics on the lawn outside Langdell

    Scenes from Orientation 2022

    August 30, 2022

    Move-in day, receptions, dogs, and picnics: incoming students jump right into campus life.

  • Collage of images from First Class celebration and reception

    ‘You are a leader par excellence’

    August 30, 2022

    The Harvard Law School community welcomed the latest group of first-generation students to begin their studies.

  • What States Can and Can’t Do When Banning Abortion

    August 29, 2022

    Whether someone can get an abortion or related medical procedure mostly hinges on which state they live in after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v.

  • U.S. Supreme Court building

    Harvard Law School professors call potential abortion rights rollback ‘unprecedented’

    May 16, 2022

    The Petrie-Flom Center hosted ‘Roe in limbo: A town hall on the leaked Dobbs opinion.’

  • Legal experts express shock at rare Supreme Court leak on major abortion rights case: ‘Highly disturbing’

    May 3, 2022

    Legal experts expressed shock and concern on Monday evening after Politico released what it says is a draft opinion on a major abortion rights case that's still pending, representing a rare breach of Supreme Court protocol, and a sign that the justices are ready to undo abortion rights. "The fact that it leaked is, to me, the most surprising thing," I. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School, told Insider, adding that it's "very unusual."

  • Australia Moves Ahead Cautiously With ‘3-Parent IVF’

    April 29, 2022

    Australia has become the second country after the United Kingdom to legalize a fertility procedure that mixes genetic material from three people. The technique is meant to prevent couples from having children with certain debilitating disorders caused by faulty mitochondria, the energy-generating structures in our cells. But it’s controversial because it involves a genetic change that can be passed to future generations, so its rollout in Australia will be extremely cautious. ... “There was a lot of excitement when the UK first legalized this several years ago, so it's surprising that there haven't been reports of failures or successes one way or the other,” says I. Glenn Cohen, director of Harvard Law School's Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, who has been following the international landscape of mitochondrial donation closely.

  • Collage of portraits of four students against green and pink color blocks.

    Focusing on well-being

    April 19, 2022

    Students on Harvard Law School’s Student Well-Being Working Group care about sharing mental health resources available with their peers.

  • How NFTs could transform health information exchange

    February 4, 2022

    An article co-authored by Glenn Cohen: Personal (sometimes called “protected”) health information (PHI) is highly valued (1) and will become centrally important as big data and machine learning move to the forefront of health care and translational research. The current health information exchange (HIE) market is dominated by commercial and (to a lesser extent) not-for-profit entities and typically excludes patients. This can serve to undermine trust and create incentives for sharing data (2). Patients have limited agency in deciding which of their data is shared, with whom, and under what conditions. Within this context, new forms of digital ownership can inspire a digital marketplace for patient-controlled health data. We argue that nonfungible tokens (NFTs) or NFT-like frameworks can help incentivize a more democratized, transparent, and efficient system for HIE in which patients participate in decisions about how and with whom their PHI is shared.

  • Colorful illustration featuring mushrooms a microscope and other scientific devices and a man walking along a path

    Reassessing Psychedelics

    January 31, 2022

    A new Harvard Law initiative examines the legal and ethical aspects of therapeutic psychedelics

  • An illustration of a large transparent globe with DNA strands floating inside as two scientist and two others observe.

    Faculty Books in Brief: Winter 2022

    January 31, 2022

    A wide range of books by faculty, from a collection of essays on the ethics of consumer genetic testing to a look at the fate of constitutional institutions in populist regimes to a delightful children's book by a legal philosopher

  • Two people walking in a hallway with other people walking along behind and next to them.

    Weighing President Biden’s first year

    January 18, 2022

    In this series, Harvard Law experts turn a critical eye to the Biden administration’s efforts on health care, the economy, criminal justice reform, and other areas important to Americans — and share their thoughts on its agenda for the future.

  • Fact check: False claim that Nuremberg Code prohibits mask mandates

    January 14, 2022

    The claim: The Nuremberg Code says 'mandating masks on the citizens of a nation' is a war crime. As the highly contagious omicron coronavirus variant spreads around the country, several states have mask mandates in place. Some social media users say they violate a set of research ethics dating back to World War II. As evidence, a Jan. 3 Instagram post claims to show a section of the Nuremberg Code. ... “The claim that this violates the Nuremberg Code is 100% false," I. Glenn Cohen, deputy dean of the Harvard Law School, said in an email.

  • The Danger of the Supreme Court Undercutting Biden’s Vaccination Rules

    January 11, 2022

    An op-ed by Carmel Shachar and I. Glenn Cohen: “There are three quarters of a million new [COVID] cases yesterday. . . [t]hat is 10 times as many as when OSHA put in this ruling. The hospitals are today, yesterday, full. . . . Can you ask us—is that what you are doing now—to stop this vaccination rule with nearly one million people, nearly three quarters of a million people, new cases every day?” This was the dramatic question asked on Friday by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer of Scott Keller, one of the attorneys seeking a stay of an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) promulgated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor. This so called “Test-or-Vaccinate” mandate requires employers across the country with more than 100 employees to implement either vaccination or testing and masking policies for their employees. A majority of the Justices seem poised to endorse not only a temporary stay of the standard, but a permanent injunction against OSHA’s power to act, and the country will be worse for it.

  • Line of people outside wearing face masks and winter coats. Sign with arrow reads: COVID TESTING.

    Weighing President Biden’s first year: Health care and the pandemic

    January 7, 2022

    Glenn Cohen and Carmel Shachar reflect on the administration’s successes, failures, and agenda for the future.

  • The Pandemic Preparedness Program: Reimagining Public Health

    January 7, 2022

    An article by Eli Y. Adashi and Glenn Cohen: On September 2, 2021, the White House released its long-awaited pandemic preparedness proposal titled American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming Our Capabilities.1 Called for by presidential executive order 13987 and National Security Memorandum 1, the proposal, 8 months in the making, comprises a whole-of-government review and update of US national biopreparedness policies.2,3 The pandemic preparedness proposal is ambitious and all-encompassing and acknowledges that the transformation of “our medical defenses” will require “extensive scientific and technological efforts.”1 In this Viewpoint, we review the leading objectives of the pandemic preparedness proposal, discuss the outcome of comparable past federal efforts, and emphasize the imperative of intragovernmental coordination.

  • Trump’s Supreme Court picks Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh could decide the fate of Roe v. Wade

    December 1, 2021

    Mississippi on Wednesday is challenging Roe v. Wade, the law of the land for nearly 50 years. Nine Supreme Court justices will hear arguments on whether to preserve or undo abortion rights, but, experts say, Americans should pay close attention to two members of the court: Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Legal scholars anticipate that either one of them could have an outsize impact in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and determine the fate of reproductive rights in the United States. ... "It's very clear where Justice Kagan, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Breyer are," I. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School, told Insider. "They are going to vote to strike down the Mississippi law as unconstitutional … They don't want to reverse Roe v. Wade. This has been consistent in their jurisprudence." ... "Justice Thomas and Justice Alito are pretty clear from their prior votes that they are on the side of thinking that the right to abortion in the Constitution is wrong. It doesn't exist," Cohen said. "So their votes are pretty set."

  • Court’s interest in Texas could signal end of Roe

    November 1, 2021

    Since 2013, more than a dozen states have tried to ban abortion as soon as a sonogram can pick up the thump-thump of an embryonic heartbeat. That’s about six weeks, an egregious constitutional affront under Roe vs. Wade. No court has allowed a ban so early in pregnancy to stand. The Supreme Court never even granted an appeal — until Texas concocted Senate Bill 8. ... “We may get some tea leaves from [Monday’s] argument, but I would be very surprised if there were major changes that come directly out of it,” said I. Glenn Cohen, deputy dean of Harvard Law School and an expert on medical ethics and the law. “If there is going to be a big change in abortion law itself, i.e., what the Constitution prohibits states from doing, that’s likely to come at least initially in Dobbs.”

  • Vaccine Mandates Withstand Challenges as Suits Surge Across U.S.

    October 14, 2021

    Workplace Covid-19 vaccination mandates have largely survived a first wave of legal challenges even as the number of lawsuits over them has soared with their expanded use. ...Two months later, regulators upgraded the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE from “Emergency Use Authorization” to full “Biologics License Application” approval. “Once the Pfizer vaccine made it from EUA to BLA, that took the winds out of the sails of an argument that seemed more rhetorically if not legally powerful,” said Glenn Cohen, director of Harvard University’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics. “Without that card to play, the challengers have much weaker-sounding arguments.”

  • Henrietta Lacks’ family sues biotech company for profiting from ‘stolen’ cells

    October 14, 2021

    The estate of Henrietta Lacks has filed a lawsuit against Thermo Fisher Scientific, which sells a commercial line of HeLa tissue, accusing the corporation of profiting from Lacks' "stolen" cells. ... Yasmin Amer:: A spokesman for Thermo Fisher Scientific told NPR the company has no official response yet. What happened to Lacks became more widely known after Rebecca Skloot's 2010 book and an HBO movie starring Oprah. Glenn Cohen teaches law and bioethics at Harvard and says what happened to Lacks wasn't unusual. Glenn Cohen: Certainly historically, everybody agrees that what was done to Henrietta Lacks, as it was done to many Black women who sought hospital care at that time, was a moral wrong.  ... Cohen: There's a legal matter at the time in which the tissue was taken. It was not the ethical rules of the day to require informed consent.

  • Why lawsuits against COVID-19 vaccine mandates will likely fail: Experts

    October 8, 2021

    From teachers to airlines workers, some employees who have faced termination for not complying with their company's COVID-19 vaccine mandates have gone to court to fight the decisions. Some of the plaintiffs, such as New York City Department of Education employees, a handful of Los Angeles county public employees and United Airlines workers, have argued that the mandates should be removed, questioning the rules' constitutionality and some contending their religious rights weren't observed. ... Glenn Cohen, a health law and bioethics professor at Harvard Law School, told ABC News that strong legal precedent dating back to the early 20th century gives businesses and governments the legal backing to enforce the mandates. "They're pretty weak," Cohen said of the lawsuits. "The judges that have denied them have come from across the political spectrum, and from across the country, because the plaintiffs' arguments don't have any weight."

  • Labor Department Officials Frustrated With White House Over COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Mandate

    September 27, 2021

    When President Joe Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Sept. 9 to impose strict COVID-19 vaccination and testing protocols on large businesses, the OSHA employees were ready. ... Public opinion may not have been behind the original ETS, either. Support for a widespread federal response is higher now than it was at the start of Biden’s term, says N’dea Moore-Petinak, a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan and coauthor of the book Coronavirus Politics. And businesses may be more open to a vaccine and testing mandate than they would be to a masking mandate like the one included in the original ETS, says Glenn Cohen, an expert on health law and bioethics at Harvard Law School. “While I think masking is terrific, politically it’s a harder sell and the compliance rates may be lower,” he says. “With vaccination, it’s easier to ensure compliance.”