Is cloning human beings morally wrong? The basis for the one serious objection to cloning is that, because of what a clone is, clones would have much worse lives than non-clones. I sketch a fragment of moral theory to make sense of the objection. I then outline several ways in which it might be claimed that, because of what a clone is, clones would have much worse lives than non-clones. In particular, I look at various ideas connected with autonomy. I conclude that there is no basis to the claim that, because of what a clone is, clones would have much worse lives than non-clones. I therefore reject the claim that cloning human beings is morally wrong. (+info)
Genetics and the British insurance industry.
Genetics and genetic testing raise key issues for insurance and employment. Governmental and public concern galvanised the British insurance industry into developing a code of practice. The history of the development of the code, issues of genetic discrimination, access to medical information, consent and the dangers of withholding information and the impact on the equity of pooled risk are explored. Proactive steps by the Association of British Insurers suggest that moral reflection not legislation is the way forward. (+info)
Indigenous peoples and the morality of the Human Genome Diversity Project.
In addition to the aim of mapping and sequencing one human's genome, the Human Genome Project also intends to characterise the genetic diversity of the world's peoples. The Human Genome Diversity Project raises political, economic and ethical issues. These intersect clearly when the genomes under study are those of indigenous peoples who are already subject to serious economic, legal and/or social disadvantage and discrimination. The fact that some individuals associated with the project have made dismissive comments about indigenous peoples has confused rather than illuminated the deeper issues involved, as well as causing much antagonism among indigenous peoples. There are more serious ethical issues raised by the project for all geneticists, including those who are sympathetic to the problems of indigenous peoples. With particular attention to the history and attitudes of Australian indigenous peoples, we argue that the Human Genome Diversity Project can only proceed if those who further its objectives simultaneously: respect the cultural beliefs of indigenous peoples; publicly support the efforts of indigenous peoples to achieve respect and equality; express respect by a rigorous understanding of the meaning of equitable negotiation of consent, and ensure that both immediate and long term economic benefits from the research flow back to the groups taking part. (+info)
Moral concerns of different types of patients in clinical BRCA1/2 gene mutation testing.
PURPOSE: Implementing predictive genetic testing for a severe and common chronic disease such as breast cancer may raise unique ethical problems. Here we report on moral concerns experienced by patients in the setting of genetic counseling based on BRCA1/2 gene testing. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients were members of breast or breast/ovarian cancer families in a consecutive series of 100 families who received counseling at a familial cancer clinic. The patients' moral concerns were identified using the grounded theory approach in the qualitative analysis of verbal transcripts of 45 counseling sessions. Included were sessions with patients who had breast and ovarian cancer, as well as their male and female relatives, before and after the specific BRCA1/2 gene mutation was identified in the family, and before and after those who opted for mutation analysis were informed of their carrier status. RESULTS: There is an association of BRCA1/2 gene mutation carrier status and specific topics of moral concern. The moral preoccupations of patients with breast and ovarian cancer (probable carriers) related to their being instrumental in the detection of the specific mutation segregating in the family. The preoccupations of possible carriers concerned their own offspring. Individuals who tested positive (proven carriers) were concerned with issues of confidentiality. Patients who tested negative (proven noncarriers) were concerned with helping siblings and other relatives. CONCLUSION: Knowledge of the moral concerns of subjects in the study sample may help health care providers be aware of the moral concerns of their own patients. This report may also contribute to the debate on predictive testing for familial adult-onset diseases from the patient's perspective. (+info)
Equitable rationing of highly specialised health care services for children: a perspective from South Africa.
The principles of equality and equity, respectively in the Bill of Rights and the white paper on health, provide the moral and legal foundations for future health care for children in South Africa. However, given extreme health care need and scarce resources, the government faces formidable obstacles if it hopes to achieve a just allocation of public health care resources, especially among children in need of highly specialised health care. In this regard, there is a dearth of moral analysis which is practically useful in the South African situation. We offer a set of moral considerations to guide the macro-allocation of highly specialised public health care services among South Africa's children. We also mention moral considerations which should inform micro-allocation. (+info)
Protective truthfulness: the Chinese way of safeguarding patients in informed treatment decisions.
The first part of this paper examines the practice of informed treatment decisions in the protective medical system in China today. The second part examines how health care professionals in China perceive and carry out their responsibilities when relaying information to vulnerable patients, based on the findings of an empirical study that I had undertaken to examine the moral experience of nurses in practice situations. In the Chinese medical ethics tradition, refinement [jing] in skills and sincerity [cheng] in relating to patients are two cardinal virtues that health care professionals are required to possess. This notion of absolute sincerity carries a strong sense of parental protectiveness. The empirical findings reveal that most nurses are ambivalent about telling the truth to patients. Truth-telling would become an insincere act if a patient were to lose hope and confidence in life after learning of his or her disease. In this system of protective medical care, it is arguable as to whose interests are being protected: the patient, the family or the hospital. I would suggest that the interests of the hospital and the family members who legitimately represent the patient's interests are being honoured, but at the expense of the patient's right to know. (+info)
In defence of medical ethics.
A number of recent publications by the philosopher David Seedhouse are discussed. Although medicine is an eminently ethical enterprise, the technical and ethical aspects of health care practices can be distinguished, therefore justifying the existence of medical ethics and its teaching as a specific part of every medical curriculum. The goal of teaching medical ethics is to make health care practitioners aware of the essential ethical aspects of their work. Furthermore, the contention that rational bioethics is a fruitless enterprise because it analyses non-rational social events seems neither theoretically tenable nor to be borne out by actual practice. Medical ethics in particular and bioethics in general, constitute a field of expertise that must make itself understandable and convincing to relevant audiences in health care. (+info)
The virtue of nursing: the covenant of care.
It is argued that the current confusion about the role and purpose of the British nurse is a consequence of the modern rejection and consequent fragmentation of the inherited nursing tradition. The nature of this tradition, in which nurses were inducted into the moral virtues of care, is examined and its relevance to patient welfare is demonstrated. Practical suggestions are made as to how this moral tradition might be reappropriated and reinvigorated for modern nursing. (+info)