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Medical and Bio Ethics
“Genetic Engineering: Tinkering with Life?” in Hayrettin Kardestunger (ed.) Social Consequences of Engineering (San Francisco: Boyd & Fraser Publishing Company, 1979), pp. 228-244.
This chapter examines several issues raised by the extensive use of DNA tests and databases in advancing public safety. The examination draws on a communitarian perspective that balances the common good with individual rights rather than presuming that rights routinely trump the common good.
Recently, various suggestions have been made to respond to the increasingly great shortage of organs by paying for them. Because of the undesirable side effects of such approaches (commodification, injustice, and costs), a communitarian approach should be tried first.
American society has often favored individual rights disproportionately over the common good. In the aftermath of September 11, there is a need to readjust our criteria to allow for the strengthening of security, public safety, and public health policies.
The privacy of medical records, which contain highly intimate information that people legitimately are keen to keep from others, often is violated.
“Health Care Rationing: A Critical Evaluation,” Health Affairs, Vol. 10, No. 2, Summer (1991). pp. 88-95.
The state of Oregon is proposing to lead the nation in rationing health care - by denying services to the poor.
Many prominent health experts now assert that major improvements in the health of the American people must come from individual efforts to alter unhealthy personal habits and lifestyles rather than
Seldome since J. Edgar Hoover personally held a gun to John Dillinger have Americant been treated to such dramatic flair in the pursuit of public enemies.
When a married woman seeks and abortion, does her husband have any rights regarding the decision?
Contrary to widespread supposition, the poor know more about the health facilities in the locations where they live than do members of the middle class.
Amniocentesis is a medical marvel. It allows us to gain information about the genetic formation of the fetus and, if mongoloid, allows the parents the option of aborting the fetus. Mongolism is a terrible illness, involving severe retardation and often distortion of one or more vital organs, and the human costs in guilt, conflict, and tension to most families who have mongoloid children are hard to overstate. Moreover, the public cost for the care of mongoloids runs into more than $1.7 billion a year. Is amniocentesis not unlike the Salk vaccine, to be used first to halve, eventually to eradicate mongolism from our society via mass testing and abortion?
Insight into how American society is dealing with recent and potentially far-reaching breakthroughs in genetics and bio-medicine and the personal, social, legal and moral issues they raise, can be gained :hrough studying the fate of one significant new intervention: amniocen- tesis, a test of the amniotic fluid for the purpose of gaining gcnetic information about the fetus. While the cloning of human beings,”test-tube“ babies, genetic surgcry and many other often debated genetic tools are for the present-still science fiction, amniocentesis is already, being performed increasingly on pregnant women and used in deciding whcther or not the fetus should be aborted.
“On Medical Feedback Systems,” Evaluation, Vol. 2, No. 2 (1975), p. 11. Published also as “Evaluation Studies Required,” New Scientist, Vol. 65, No. 942 (March 27, 1975), p. 763.
Amniocentesis, which detects mongolism and other serious abnormal- ities in a fetus in utero, will prevent the birth of thousandsof afflicted children yearly once current research on its safety justifies its wide use. But this genetic intervention raisescrucial questionsof public policy.
One major reason why most doctors who have prescribed birth control pills continue to do so, despite increasing evidence of undesireable side-effects, is that they hold the Pill to be safer than its alternatives.
“Social Implications of the Use and Non-use of New Genetic and Medical Techniques,” Protection of Human Rights in the Light of New Scientific and Technological Progress in Biology and Medicine (Geneva: Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences, 1974), pp. 48-75.
If a raving maniac struck your child on the head with an iron bar, causing mental retardation, reduction of life expectancy to seven years, and institutionalization, the act would be considered a horrendous crime. The perpetrator would be instantly incarcerated.
As we begin to face the issues raised by the new biomedical technologies-genetic manipulation, prolongation of life, organ transplantation, drug control of behavior-professionals from many disciplincs are seeking ways to manage such problems.
A three-judge Federal Court has ruled on August 15, 1973, in Miami, Florida, that a woman does not need the consent of her husband to obtain a legal abortion.
The acceleration of biological engineering has been urged before Congress by Nobel Laureate Dr. Joshua Lederberg.
It was a warm afternoon in June 1963; the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences was listening to a distinguished American scientist's testimony on the merits of our space program.