Medicine: A Matter of Morality

For the past 40 years, the U.S. Public Health Service has conducted a study in which people with syphilis were induced to go without treatment so that science could determine the disease's effects on the human body. For the past 25 years, the service has had a proven remedy available and neglected to use it on its select test cases—in the name of science.

The study was started in 1932 by the service's venereal-disease section. It involved 625 black men, mostly poor and uneducated, from the county surrounding Tuskegee, Ala., which then had the...