Medical ethicist Art Caplan joined Boston Public Radio on Wednesday for his regular segment "Ask the Ethicist." Caplan talked about libido-stimulating drugs, abortion training for physicians, and whether the Red Sox should pay the medical bills of the woman hit in the face with a broken bat.

Caplan is head of the division of medical ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center, and co-host of the podcast Everyday Ethics. The following questions are paraphrased, and Caplan's responses are edited where noted [...]. 

A new drug called Flibanserin is being billed as the first 'female Viagra.' Is this a big deal?

This is not the female Viagra. It gets covered that way in the media and that makes it sounds like it's going to be used in the same way. [Viagra] lets blood go where it needs to go if it's having a hard time getting there because of heart disease or diabetes. [...] It's a solution to a mechanical problem. [Flibanserin is] neurotransmitter-stimulating. It does make you more 'aroused,' if you will. But it's only been proven to be effective in women with depression.

But it seems fair that after all this time there would be a drug for women's sexual health.

Sure, everybody wants to be fair and help both sexes. [But] Viagra doesn’t solve your problem with low libido, and it doesn't solve your problem with lack of interest. [...] Men need to have a part that can stay rigid and can be used to perform sex. [...] That's not the issue with women. […] This female libido drug, which is really for a narrow range of women.

A new piece in The Atlantic documents how little abortion training physicians receive in medical school. Does this trouble you?

One of the tactics that's proven very, very, very effective by opponents of abortion is to chip away at how it's done. [...] That’s been a pattern for a decade or more.

New data show abortions have declined nationwide since 2010. What other trends might we see in the coming years surrounding abortion and reproductive health choices?

Abortion is [...] moving from a surgical thing to a chemical thing, a pill. [...] I think down the road what's going to happen is women are not going to go to a clinic, you'll get a pill. [...] You don't kneed to go to a clinic, but in some states they've already passed legislation saying, [...] 'restrict' [access to drugs].

As we've talked about before, this puts the legislature in the position of lecturing to doctors, something you weren't keen on.

[It] interfere[s] with the doctor-patient relationship, it's really disturbing. You know what happens? It basically [means] the rich get access and can travel, [...] and a lot of women are going to wind up having kids that they wouldn't have chosen to have. [It's] a disparity of services.

Tonya Carpenter was hit in the face by a broken bat at Fenway Park last Friday. A campaign has been launched to help Carpenter pay her medical bills. Even though the tiny print on the back of the baseball ticket technically indemnifies the team from any wrongdoing, should the Red Sox help pay her bills?

Ethically, signing a tiny-print waiver is useless. It's stupid. People don't look at it, they don't read it. [...] I don't think they're worth anything. I think it's nice to warn, but really if you went to court [to fight it] I’m not sure it wouldn't get sympathy from judges or juries. [...] The Red Sox should do the right thing, help the woman out, do whatever she needs in terms of getting her medical care.