Presidential Commission Report Calls 1940s STD Experiments In Guatemala 'Gross Violations Of Ethics'

“Sexually transmitted disease experiments conducted by federal researchers from 1946 to 1948 in Guatemala involved ‘gross violations of ethics,'” according to a report published Tuesday by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, USA Today’s “ScienceFair” blog reports (Vergano, 9/13).

In a statement (.pdf), Amy Gutmann, chair of the commission, said, “A civilization can be judged by the way that it treats it most vulnerable individuals … It is our moral responsibility to care for those who cannot protect themselves and clearly in this dark chapter of our medical history we grievously failed to keep that covenant,” according to BBC News (9/13). “President Obama apologized for the experiments to President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala last year, after they were revealed,” the New York Times notes (McNeil, 9/14). According to BBC News, “a group of Guatemalans who were involved in the study [earlier this year] announced they were suing the U.S. government over the affair” (9/13).