Does Western bioethics ignore the family?

Michael Cook
15 Feb 2013
Reproduced with Permission

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, losing one minister because he plagiarised his PhD thesis is a misforture; losing two looks like carelessness. But this is what has happened to Germany'ys Chancellor, Angela Merkel. This week she accepted e resignation of her minister for education and research, Annette Schavanth, after the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf stripped her of a doctorate which she earned 30 years ago.

The allegations surfaced when an anonymous blogger published on-line passages from the thesis which appeared to have been copied from other sources.

Ms Schavan angrily denies the allegations and plans to appeal the decision, but she has become a liability in an election year. She is the second of Merkel's ministers to resign over a plagiarism scandal. In 2011, Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was also forced to resign.

The university's statement was stark: "As a doctoral candidate, she systematically and deliberately presented intellectual efforts throughout her entire dissertation that were not her own". Ironically, the topic of her thesis was "Character and conscience".