Questions of Life and Death

The research started with a definition of the general ethical background to be applied in bioethical discussions, particularly regarding aspects of morality that have to be enforced by the community. Only those moral beliefs that can be accepted by consensus in a free discussion can be enforced. It follows that the basic principle of a well ordered society is the equality (and possible upwards extension) of the basic liberties. Therefore, whenever it is possible to respect the principle of autonomy in matters of bioethics (here including questions of abortion, assisted procreation, genetics, organ transplantation and euthanasia) this must be done. On the other hand, there are some common values that can be defended in a free dialogue, values that are needed in order to guarantee stable cooperation in a political society. These values include the respect for human life, which implies the respect for human life in all its forms. This leads to the conclusion that people who are able to be part of the system of cooperation in a political society have rights which are dominant in moral considerations. In all cases where there is no conflict between these rights and the value of life as manifested in human individuals who are not able participate in social cooperation, considerations of the value of the life of the latter must be an important moral consideration. This implies that embryo experimentation should be permitted in order to develop scientific advances needed to save human life, but embryos must not be used for trivial reasons or for the cosmetic industry.
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