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To read Bioethics Institute Director Dr. Dell'Oro's lecture introduction, click here.


In her October lecture, “Radical Bioethics: Disability, Difference, and Desiderata,” Prof. Iozzio argues that too few people register a thought concerning the global prevalence disability. As a result of this unrecognizable concern, too few people without immediate experience of or any regular encounter with persons with disability remain unaware of this largest and most diverse minority of people across the globe (WHO estimates 15+% of Earth’s human population). To unsettle any complacence, she rehearses the likelihood of able-bodied/able-minded persons joining this minority as they age or, if not by accident, then by diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis, depression, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other conditions. Further, as no geographic location is immune from this prevalence, particularly in relation to the vicissitudes of contemporary life—for example, travel, trudgery, terrorism—both poverty and place of residence increase and exacerbate the vulnerability to being born with or acquiring a disability in one’s lifetime. Her focus on “Radical Bioethics” proposes one response to a dearth of theo-ethical and bioethical reflection on a critical concern for this population and for the requirements of justice that have been largely ignored in matters of care for the support and development of basic human functioning capabilities that are available in the common good. In this vein she advocates for a distribution of those goods with a preferential safeguard for persons and communities of people with disability.


Prof. Iozzio offers an approach to disability as another

instance of diversity in a world of fecund creativity. She

recognizes that, while bioethics has been slow to engage

a universal design approach in its adjudication of cases,

a growing number of academics including scholars with

disability in the humanities and social sciences vigorously

have been studying disability and the experiences of

people with disability for 25 years. Finally, her desiderata

includes analysis in bioethical, philosophical, and

religio-theo-ethical reflection on the subject of disability

and on the ways in which people with disability ought to be

where they are presently excluded as critical participants

in and rightful recipients of the commonweal: the common

goods of health, education, recreation, employment,

commerce, social & political affairs, & religious observance.

-Abstract written by Professor Mary Jo Iozzio                             TO READ MORE ABOUT PROF. IOZZIO, CLICK HERE.

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Heumann helped to lead a groundbreaking protest called the Section 504 sit-in -- in which disabled-rights activists occupied a federal building for almost a month, demanding greater accessibility for all.

This page was created by Bioethics intern Kayla Chang, and Bioethics graduate student Cara Crew.


Kayla Chang is a Philosophy major with a Bioethics and Chinese minor at Loyola Marymount University. She is interested in pursuing a career in policy-making for medical research. Kayla is an undergraduate intern for the Bioethics Institute.  

To read her thoughts on the lecture, click here.


Cara Crew is a second-year

graduate student at the Bioethics Institute. She is the Craves Scholar and manages the content for the Bioethics Hub website.

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