Life, Liberty and the Defense of...

Thoughful, often profound writting about the limits of science and the limits of life, about what makes us human and gives us human dignity.

Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity Leon R. Kass, M. D. 6 Introduction S tem cells. Cloning. The Human Genome Project. If the year 2001 was any indication, issues of bioethics will be a dominant concern of the new century— indeed, of the new millennium. For much of the year, before the events of September 11 relegated everything else to the back page, the United States was absorbed in a difficult moral debate about whether the federal govern-ment should fund research on human embryonic stem cells. Proponents touted the lifesaving and disease- curing promise of these pluripotent cells, which may someday enable doctors to replace tissues damaged by spinal cord injury, juvenile diabetes or Parkinson’s disease, among oth-ers. Opponents objected to the necessary exploitation and destruction of the human embryos from which the stem cells are extracted. In August 2001, in his first major televised address to the nation, President Bush announced his solution. Intent on reaffirming the moral principle that nascent life not be destroyed for the sake of research, yet eager to explore the possible therapeutic benefits of these cells, he chose to per-mit federal funds to be used for research only on already existing embryonic stem cell lines. At the same time, he announced the creation of a President’s Council on Bioeth-ics to monitor stem cell research and to consider all of the medical and ethical ramifications of biomedical innovation. I was appointed to chair this council. The President has directed it to lead a “ fundamental inquiry into the human and moral significance of developments in biomedical and behavioral science and technology.” He wants everyone to   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C

Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics


About Book Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics

Front MatterFront CoverTitle PageCopyright PageContentsIntroductionFacing a Posthuman FutureThe Need for a Richer BioethicsThe Strengths and Limits of Liberal PrinciplesThe Search for Human DignityAn Overview of the ArgumentNature and Purposes of Technology and EthicsEthical Challenges from BiotechnologyLife and Lineage: Genetics and the Beginning of LifeBody and Soul: Parts and Whole in the Midst of LifeDeath and Immortality: Staying Human at the End of LifeNature and Purposes of BiologyAcknowledgmentsNotes
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Matters of Life and Death
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Ruby of Cochin: An Indian Jewish Woman Remembers
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