If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
: In 1998, researchers discovered that embryonic stem cells could be derived from early human embryos. This discovery has raised a series of ethical and public-policy questions that are now being confronted by multiple international organizations, nations, cultures, and religious traditions. This essay surveys policies for human embryonic stem cell research in four regions of the world, reports on the recent debate at the United Nations about one type of such research, and reviews the positions that various religious traditions have (...) adopted regarding this novel type of research. In several instances the religious traditions seem to have influenced the public-policy debates. (shrink)
Unlike its predecessors, this systematic survey of the law of Athens is based on explicit discussion of how the subject might be studies, incorporating topics such as the democratic political system and social structure. Technical and legal terms are explained in a comprehensive glossary.
Genomic research results and incidental findings with health implications for a research participant are of potential interest not only to the participant, but also to the participant's family. Yet investigators lack guidance on return of results to relatives, including after the participant's death. In this paper, a national working group offers consensus analysis and recommendations, including an ethical framework to guide investigators in managing this challenging issue, before and after the participant's death.
According to a prevalent and rather influential typology, the just war and the crusade are antitheses in four respects. The requisite authority for a just war is the prince or the state; the crusade, on the other hand, is fought “under the auspices of the Church or of some inspired religious leader.” Second, the cause or aim of the just war is to protect society from offenses against life and property; in contrast, the object of the crusade is to promote (...) a religious or quasi-religious ideal. Third, the attitude of just warriors is one of reluctant resignation to performing an unpleasant but necessary task; crusaders, however, welcome the opportunity to wreak vengeance on the enemy. Finally, whereas the just war is characterized by moderation in the use of military. means, the crusade almost inevitably leads to indiscriminate violence. (shrink)
In 1969, the field of human genetics was in its infancy. Amniocentesis was a new technique for prenatal diagnosis, and a newborn genetic screening program had been established in one state. There were also concerns about the potential hazards of genetic engineering. A research group at the Hastings Center and Paul Ramsey pioneered in the discussion of genetics and bioethics. Two principal techniques have emerged as being of enduring importance: human gene transfer research and genetic testing and screening. This essay (...) tracks the development and use of these techniques and considers the ethical issues that they raise. (shrink)
The last quarter of the twentieth century has given rise to reproductive technologies and arrangements that in the earlier part of the century could only be dreamed of by the authors of science fiction. We stand in the middle of this reproductive revolution, trying to cope with the developments that have already occurred but with an uneasy sense that the future may be even more complicated ethically than the past and the present. In this brief essay, I will survey recent (...) ethical and public-policy discussions of two reproductive techniques (assisted insemination and in vitro fertilization) and one reproductive arrangement (surrogate motherhood). After distinguishing three phases in the normative debate, I will briefly comment on some of the characteristics of, and continuing ambiguities in, the ethical debate of the past 25 years. At the conclusion of the essay, I will attempt to anticipate three future issues in ethics and reproduction. (shrink)