Whitny Braun is an American bioethicist featured on the National Geographic Channel television program "Taboo" known for her research with regard to the Jain practice of Sallekhana and the Parsi practice of Dakhmenashini. She has served as the Director of the Centers for South Asian Religious Traditions at Claremont Lincoln University and currently serves as Claremont Lincoln's Director of Educational Programming. She is also affiliated with the Center for Christian Bioethics at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California and is completing a PhD in theology, ethics and cultural studies at Claremont Graduate University.
Additionally Braun has published on the topic of healthcare in the American prison system, specifically with regard to organ donation and the death penalty. Her current research focuses on the ongoing legal battle over Sallekhana in the Indian courts and possible American legal precedent for the practice. She has spoken at several international conferences about Christian, Jewish and Muslim philosophical approaches to artificial reproductive technology, specifically heterologous embryo transfer and the embryo industry in the United States as well as the ethics of disaster management strategies in Haiti. Most recently she has been published in "Natural Transitions" magazine, a publication which examines options for the dying process.
Braun was born in Redlands, California and raised between Downey, California and Coulterville, California in the Seventh-day Adventist church and is currently an associate scholar of the Seventh-day Adventist Center for Christian Bioethics at Loma Linda University, however her writings and opinions most often reflect a secular humanist position and her interests lie in the application of under represented ethnic groups' normative ethics in a clinical setting. She often refers to herself as a pragmatist. David Novak and Peter Singer have jokingly referred to her as the "Darling of the Bioethics Set." Steve Lopez of the LA Times has called her his expert on the death and dying.
Braun is of Scottish, Dutch, Czech Jew and Mississippi Choctaw and Cherokee Native American descent. She is the great-great-granddaughter of pioneering photographer of the Old West Ory T. Davis and the goddaughter of prominent ethnohistorian Matthew Restall. At 18 she was the youngest contestant to ever compete on the American trivia game show Win Ben Stein's Money. She also works as a freelance comedy writer and maintains a blog.
Braun and divides her time between Southern California and the Sierra Nevadas near Yosemite National Park.
- Braun, W. M. (2008). "Sallekhana: the ethicality and legality of religious suicide by starvation in the Jain religious community." Medicine and Law 27(4): 913-924.
- Braun, W. (2007). "Sallekhana: Consideraciones Eticas Y Juridicas Sobre El Suicidio Por Inanicion en la Comunidad Religiosa Jainita." Anales de Derecho - Universidad de Murcia 25: 415-428.
- The Eighth Amendment Dichotomy: The Clinical and Legal Debate Over Prisoner's Constitutional Right to Healthcare and Organ Transplantation. (2009). In Francisco Manuel García Costa & María Magnolia Pardo López (Eds.), Retos Del Derecho En El Siglo XXI (pp. 131-155). Valencia, Spain: Ediciones de la Universidad De Murcia.
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