Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 9.2, June 1999

Contents

Feature Articles

    Robertson, John A. (John Ancona), 1943-
  • Ethics and Policy in Embryonic Stem Cell Research
    Subject Headings:
    • Embryonic stem cells.
    • Fetus -- Research -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    • Bioethics.
    Abstract:
      Embryonic stem cells, which have the potential to save many lives, must be recovered from aborted fetuses or live embryos. Although tissue from aborted fetuses can be used without moral complicity in the underlying abortion, obtaining stem cells from embryos necessarily kills them, thus raising difficult questions about the use of embryonic human material to save others. This article draws on previous controversies over embryo research and distinctions between intrinsic and symbolic moral status to analyze these issues. It argues that stem cell research with spare embryos produced during infertility treatment, or even embryos created specifically for research or therapeutic purposes, is ethically acceptable and should receive federal funding.
    Doerflinger, Richard M.
  • The Ethics of Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research: A Catholic Viewpoint
    Subject Headings:
    • Embryonic stem cells.
    • Fetus -- Research -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    • Bioethics -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
    Abstract:
      Stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos is incompatible with Catholic moral principles, and with any ethic that gives serious weight to the moral status of the human embryo. Moreover, because there are promising and morally acceptable alternative approaches to the repair and regeneration of human tissues, and because treatments that rely on destruction of human embryos would be morally offensive to many patients, embryonic stem cell research may play a far less significant role in medical progress than proponents believe.
    McGee, Glenn, 1967-
    Caplan, Arthur L.
  • The Ethics and Politics of Small Sacrifices in Stem Cell Research
    Subject Headings:
    • Embryonic stem cells.
    • Fetus -- Research -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    • Bioethics.
    Abstract:
      Pluripotent human stem cell research may offer new treatments for hundreds of diseases, but opponents of this research argue that such therapy comes attached to a Faustian bargain: cures at the cost of the destruction of many frozen embryos. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC), government officials, and many scholars of bioethics, including, in these pages, John Robertson, have not offered an adequate response to ethical objections to stem cell research. Instead of examining the ethical issues involved in sacrificing human embryos for the goal of curing fatal and disabling diseases, they seek to either dismiss the moral concerns of those with objections or to find an "accommodation" with those opposed to stem cell research. An ethical argument can be made that it is justifiable to modify or destroy certain human embryos in the pursuit of cures for dread and lethal diseases. Until this argument is made, the case for stem cell research will rest on political foundations rather than on the ethical foundations that the funding of stem cell research requires.
    Billauer, Barbara Pfeffer, 1951-
  • On Judaism and Genes: A Response to Paul Root Wolpe
    Subject Headings:
    • Wolpe, Paul Root. If I am only my genes, what am I? Genetic essentialism and a Jewish response.
    • Body, Human -- Religious aspects -- Judaism.
    • Mind and body.
    Abstract:
      The following comments on Paul Root Wolpe's article "If I Am Only My Genes, What Am I? Genetic Essentialism and a Jewish Response" address (1) his presentation of the relationship between science and culture or religion as unimodal; (2) his misconception of the Jewish view of the physical corpus; and (3) his essential question of genetic determinism by examining the traditional Jewish view of the spiritual aspects of the human.
    Wolpe, Paul Root.
  • Reply to Barbara Pfeffer Billauer's "On Judaism and Genes"
    Subject Headings:
    • Billauer, Barbara Pfeffer, 1951-. On Judaism and genes: a response to Paul Root Wolpe.
    • Religion and sociology.
    • Body, Human -- Religious aspects -- Judaism.
    Abstract:
      The response of Barbara Pfeffer Billauer to my article "If I Am Only My Genes, What Am I? Genetic Essentialism and a Jewish Response" highlights the conflict between a sociological understanding of religion and the resistance to such analysis from within a faith tradition. Ms. Billauer makes three main points; the first strangely credits to me, and then attacks, an argument the article takes great pains to refute, but does so to emphasize the faith's prescient guidance in matters scientific. The second attempts to rebut my critical analysis of the tensions inherent in Jewish views of the body with an insistence that Judaism so perfectly balances the relation between the sacred and profane that there is not now, and never was, the slightest tension between corporeality and divinity in the Jewish corpus. The third uses my article as vehicle for her to expound on an interesting but tangential formulation of three Jewish terms. In all, the need to defend her interpretation of Judaism's solutions to the problems the article raises results in un-self-critical and ahistorical theorizing, making the utility of her arguments in a discussion of the sociology of religion unsatisfactory.

Bioethics Inside the Beltway

Scope Note 36




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