BOSTON COLLEGE
Boston College Third World Law Journal

Student
Publications

Volume 21 2001 Number 1

[Pages 1-34]
THE HYDRA HATH BUT ONE HEAD: THE SOCIO-CULTURAL DIMENSIONS OF THE AIDS EPIDEMIC & WOMEN'S RIGHT TO HEALTH
J.M. Spectar*

Abstract:  The AIDS pandemic is exacting a heavy toll on women and girls in developing countries. The collusion of myriad social and cultural forces at the epicenter of the pandemic, to the detriment of women’s health, heightens the need for an international focus on women’s human rights and HIV/AIDS. It appears there is an inextricable nexus between certain socio-cultural practices and women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Further, there is mounting evidence that women’s vulnerability to disease is exacerbated by governmental policies that condone or institutionalize the marginalization of women. Yet, despite its multifarious causes, catalysts and consequences, the AIDS pandemic, like the Hydra of ancient lore, can be vanquished. Humankind can, and must, marshal a Herculean effort to defeat this global threat to women’s health and well being. In this article, the author argues that to be successful, the campaign against AIDS must adopt a holistic approach to women’s health that reflects an awareness of the interlocking structural and contextual determinants affecting the actualization of the right to health.

[Pages 35-68]
RACISM AND HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA: LEGAL RESPONSES TO RACIAL DISPARITIES IN THE ALLOCATION OF KIDNEYS
Cara A. Fauci*

Abstract:  African Americans have long been subjected to racism within the health care sector of the United States. During earlier eras of American history, including the pre-Civil War, Reconstruction and Jim Crow time periods, blatant racism in the health care sector was prevalent. Following the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, more overt forms of racism dissipated. Now, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, racism within the health care industry manifests itself in more subtle forms. A modern day example of the abominable and often governmentally sanctioned health care that African Americans receive is racial discrimination in the allocation of transplantable kidneys. Despite having a greater incidence of kidney failure than European Americans, African Americans are less likely to be the recipients of transplantable kidneys and spend considerably longer periods of time on kidney allocation waiting lists than European Americans. This Note proposes and analyzes various responses to disparities in kidney allocation on the basis of race including public education, organ donation publicity campaigns, presumed consent to donation laws, the creation of criteria for placement on an United Network for Organ Sharing kidney allocation waiting list, alteration of kidney allocation guidelines, and litigation under both the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights of 1964.

[Pages 69-104]
THE AYAHUASCA PATENT REVOCATION: RAISING QUESTIONS ABOUT CURRENT U.S. PATENT POLICY
Leanne M. Fecteau*

Abstract:  This Note explores the discriminatory effect of U.S. patent law and policy on indigenous communities in developing countries. For years, Western researchers have relied upon local people to point them to useful regional plants and animals so that they could then isolate, develop and patent the chemical compounds found in the organisms. Yet, the U.S. patent system does not recognize or value the traditional knowledge of indigenous groups regarding their regional biodiversity. Rather, the researchers who isolate the compounds can obtain a patent with no recognition for the indigenous knowledge upon which they relied. Recently, the World Trade Organization has succeeded at globalizing Western intellectual property systems through international treaties. These efforts have met with significant resistance in several developing countries. The controversy over the ayahuasca patent is one example of developing countries’ opposition to Western-style intellectual property rights. By implementing the suggestions described in this Note, the United States could ensure that indigenous knowledge would be recognized and thus could avoid future controversies like the one surrounding the ayahuasca patent.

[Pages 105-122]
THE MONEY CHASE: HOW PROPOSED CHANGES TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS COULD IMPACT FEMALE CANDIDATES
Jason P. Conti*

Abstract:  In their book, Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling, Eleanor Clift and Tom Brazaitis shed light on the various reasons why a woman has yet to ascend the political ladder and occupy the Oval Office. While the authors do include some mention of female candidates’ difficulty with fundraising, the authors fail to address a key component of any political analysis: Campaign finance reform. Reforming the federal election laws could have a profound influence on the prospects of current and future female politicians. Two reform proposals, including banning or restricting soft money and banning or restricting the practice of bundling, have consistently appeared on the short list of suggested changes to campaign finance laws. This Book Review explores these reform proposals and explains why banning soft money or bundling would take away two essential sources of campaign funds for women, thereby hindering their ability to rise through the political ranks.

[Pages 123-144]
FORCING BOYS TO BE BOYS: THE PERSECUTION OF GENDER NON-CONFORMING YOUTH
Patience W. Crozier*

Abstract:  Christina Hoff Sommers’ book, The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men, complains of an educational system bent on feminizing boys and reconceptualizing gender by erasing differences between boys and girls. In doing so, Sommers assumes that gender is exclusively binary. The experiences of gender non-conforming youth in schools and the legal system highlight a reality Sommers ignores. This Book Review explores the experience of youth who do not conform to the stereotypical male model and, in turn, suffer severe harassment and discrimination. The stories of four gender non-conforming youth elucidate how schools remain primary enforcers of a binary gender system that fails to address the needs of many. This Book Review concludes that the strides being made in the legal system to expand notions of gender-appropriate behavior and to recognize individual identity contrast starkly with the lack of progress in schools. While the legal system offers hope for gender non-conforming youth, schools must soberly begin to address their adherence to a gender model that has punitive effects on those labelled “different.”

[Pages 145-159]
YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN: A RELUCTANT RETURN TO TRADITIONAL GENDER ROLES IN POST-REUNIFICATION GERMANY
Cynthia M. Guizzetti*