Gregory Pence

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Gregory E. Pence is a professor and Chair of the department of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.[1] He is an expert in the field of medical ethics who has written several books and has testified before the United States Congress and the California Senate about cloning and reproductive ethics.


He graduated cum laude with a B.A. from William and Mary and a Ph.D. from New York University, writing under visiting Australian bioethicist Peter Singer. Professor Pence also directs UAB's competitive Early Medical School Acceptance Program and taught ethics for thirty-four years at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.[2] In 2006, Samford University awarded him a Pellegrino Medal for achievement in medical ethics.[3] In 2011, he retired from teaching in the medical school to chair the UAB Department of Philosophy.

His most-known work has labeled him as a rebel in the scientific community.[4] Some critics, especially GreenPeace of Europe, consider him an apologist for the safety of GM foods.[5] As displayed in his many books on the subject of cloning (Who's Afraid of Cloning, etc.), he is one of the few bioethicists who believes that human cloning should not be banned but rather accepted in modern society as a medical marvel. In 2001, Dr. Pence testified before the US Congress on the issue raised by human cloning.[6] His many papers and books about the theory and future of human cloning illustrate his opinions.

His textbook, Medical Ethics, is one of the field's standards and was 25 years old in 2014 in its 7th edition.[7] At UAB, he has won several teaching awards, including the Ingall's and President's.[8] In 2010, he coached the UAB team that won the national championship of the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl and in 2011,[9] he coached the UAB team that won the national championship of the Bioethics Bowl at the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference at Duke University.[10]



Pence has authored the following books:

  • Pence, G. How to Build a Better Human: An Ethical Blueprint, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2012.
  • Pence, G. Medical Ethics: Accounts of Ground-Breaking Cases in Medical Ethics, 7/ed., McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2014.
  • Pence, G. Who's Afraid of Human Cloning?, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998.
  • Pence, G. Re-Creating Medicine: Ethical Issues at the Frontiers of Medicine, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000.
  • Pence, G. Designer Food: Mutant Harvest or Breadbasket of the World?, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2001.
  • Pence, G. Cloning After Dolly: Who's Still Afraid?, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004.
  • Pence, G. The Elements of Bioethics, McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2007.

He has edited four books, the last one below being a collection of his op-eds in newspapers and magazines:

  • Pence, G. Classic Works in Medical Ethics, McGraw-Hill Publishers, 1995.
  • Pence, G. The Ethics of Food: A Reader for the Twenty-First Century, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002.
  • Pence, G. Flesh of My Flesh: The Ethics of Cloning Humans, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998.
  • Pence, G., Brave New Bioethics, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003.


  • "The Value of a Life,"New York Times, December 4, 1974, 23.
  • "Everyone's Entitled to Blame for Soaring Health Costs," Wall Street Journal, December 22, 1983, 24.
  • "Prevention Is So Much Spinach," My Turn, Newsweek, August 26, 1985.
  • "Medical Students Need Perspective, Hope," American Medical News, November 7, 1986, 54.
  • “A New Parable about Life, Humane Medicine Magazine, November 1986, 134-135.
  • "On the Road" (Guest Essay), Journal of the American Medical Association, 260:13, October 7, 1988.
  • “Can They Pull the Plug on a Patient Who’s Not Able to Fight it?” Sunday Birmingham News, December 3, 1989.
  • "As I Lay Dying," Sunday Birmingham News, November 9, 1991.
  • “In Case of Terminal Illness: Call Your Lawyer,” Sunday Tuscaloosa News, November 15, 1991.
  • "Ethics and AIDS, " Sunday Birmingham News January 4, 1992.
  • "Brave New Babies," February, Sunday Birmingham News, 1992.
  • "Brave New Genetics," Sunday Birmingham News, April 4, 1992.
  • "Two Decades of Bioethics," Sunday Birmingham News, November 12, 1992.
  • "Who Gets Health Care? Make a List," The New York Times, June 14, 1993.
  • "A Prescription for Health Care Reform?" Sunday Birmingham News, September 26, 1993.
  • "Discovering Drugs and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," Sunday Birmingham News, February 18, 1996.
  • "Dolly and Cloning," Sunday Birmingham News, March 17, 1997.
  • “McCaughey Septuplets: God's Will or Human Choice?" Sunday Birmingham News, December 1, 1997. Reprinted in Bioethics: An Anthology, ed. Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse, Blackwell, 2005.
  • "World's Authority on Ants Marching to Birmingham," (on E. O. Wilson's visit to UAB), Sunday Birmingham News March 1, 1998.
  • "Happy 20th Birthday, Louise Brown," Atlanta Journal-Constitution July 25, 1998; Reprinted in Knight-Ridder newspapers nationwide.
  • "Does Size Matter?" (On the city of Hoover’s vision of itself), Sunday Birmingham News August 30, 1998.
  • "The Ethics of Cybermedicine," (with Jason Lott), Sunday Birmingham News July 3, 1999.
  • “AIDS and Africa,” Sunday Birmingham News January 2, 2000.
  • “Cloning Michael’s Embryos,” Sunday Birmingham News June 4, 2000.
  • A Hero for our Time: Norman Borlaug,” (with Joyce Hsu) Sunday Birmingham News, July, 2000.
  • “Don’t Criminalize Human Cloning,” Insight magazine, September, 2000.
  • "Myths about Human Cloning," Sunday Birmingham News Nov. 25, 2000.
  • “West Wing and Norman Borlaug,” Sunday Birmingham News January 2001; Reprinted in Des Moines Register, 18 January 2001.
  • "Crafting a Careful Policy in Bioethics," Chronicle of Higher Education, January 12, 2001.
  • “Cloning is Just Another Way to Start a Family,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 27, 2001.
  • "Medical Ethics is Whatever You Say It Is," Newsletter on Medical Ethics of the American Philosophical Association, Fall, 2001.
  • "Future Shifts Reproduction to New Level,” Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer, December 2, 2001, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • “Putting ‘Science’ Back in Science Fiction: Cloning in Science Fiction,” Future Orbits Magazine, I: 2, January, 2002.
  • “Is President’s New Bioethics Council: Dead on Arrival?” Birmingham Post-Herald, January 24, 2002; Reprinted in the Chicago Tribune, 25 January 2002.
  • "Why Greenpeace Should See Green on GM Food,” Sunday Birmingham News, February 24, 2002.
  • "Organ Donors Risk Health" Los Angeles Times April 9, 2002, B1; Reprinted in the St. Paul Register, Miami Herald & St. Louis Dispatch.
  • “Food Activism: A Tree with Deep Philosophical Roots,” Philosopher’s Magazine, June, 2002.
  • “Is Ban on Cloned Tissue Research Attack on Biotechnology?” Sunday Birmingham News, July 21, 2002.
  • “Commission to Michael J. Fox: Wait 4 Years,” (with Pooja Aggarwal). Sunday Birmingham News, July 18, 2002
  • "Good Family Doctors Deserve More Thanks", Sunday Birmingham News, January 3, 2003.
  • "Time to Pay for Organs?", Sunday Birmingham News, June 29, 2003.
  • “Too Bad U.S. Won’t Fund Embryo Studies,” Sunday Birmingham News, February 13, 2005, C1.
  • After 15 Years, Is it Time to let Terri Schiavo Go?,” Sunday Birmingham News, January 23, 2005.
  • “Medicine’s New Heroes Have Old Values” (with Emily Taylor), Sunday Birmingham News, August 7, 2005.
  • “The Ethics of Disclosing Medical Mistakes,” Sunday Birmingham News, February 19, 2006, B1-5.
  • “Controversy’s Children: Cloning Represents No Threat to People,” Orange County (CA) News, April 30, 2006.
  • “Psychiatric Patients Deserve Access to Treatment,” Sunday Birmingham News, June 4, 2006.
  • Let’s Think Outside the Box of Bad Clichés,” My Turn, Newsweek, August 6, 2007; Reprinted in Models for Writers, 11th edition (2013), Bedford/St. Martin’s Press (167,000 copies), as well as on many on-line sites.
  • “Newborn Genetic Testing,” Sunday Birmingham News, November 16, 2007.
  • Free-Market Baby Making,” Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2008, A17; Reprinted in Miami Herald, The China Times, Akron Daily, and ten other national newspapers.
  • “Is Alcoholism a Disease?” Sunday Birmingham News, October 24, 2008.
  • How to be Happy in Academe,” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 2008; Reprinted in William & Mary Alumni Magazine.
  • “Re-creating medicine: Need to Reform more than Health Insurance,” Sunday Birmingham News, July 19, 2009.
  • End-of-Life Decisions are Heart-Wrenching: Killing My Father,” Sunday Birmingham News, November 15, 2009.
  • Should We Test for Genetic Diseases that Can’t be Cured?,” Sunday Birmingham News, January 9, 2011; Reprinted in weekly news of American Journal of Bioethics News Digest; Replied to in Reason magazine by Ronald Bailey, “Bioethicists Can’t Handle the Truth,” February 1, 2011.
  • Schizophrenia: Like Living With ‘Your Brain on Fire’,” Sunday Birmingham News, January 29, 2012.
  • You Can Teach Neuroethics in Prison,” Sunday Birmingham News, October 10, 2013.
  • UAB’s Pittman’s Legacy is Rich, Memorable,” Sunday Birmingham News, January 19, 2014.
  • Saving Alabama’s Bookstores,” Sunday Birmingham News, March 5, 2014.
  • Oregon Provides Lessons for Rights of Terminal Patients,” Huntsville Times, August 14, 2014.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Faculty and Staff". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Pence". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Wimberly, Mary. "Satcher, Veatch, Dean Receive Pellegrino Medals; Satcher Examines Health Disparities". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Campbell, Courtney (March 2004). "Brave New Bioethics by Gregory E. Pence, Review". Politics and the Life Sciences 23 (1): 73–75. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Gregory Pence, AgBioView and the huckster parade". Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Issues Raised by Human Cloning, Congressional Hearing". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Sutton, Marie. "UAB professor’s textbook still published after quarter of a century". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Pence, Gregory". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "UAB Ethics Bowl Team wins first national championship". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Sutton, Marie. "UAB bioethics team wins national title". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 

External links[edit]