Editorial: The limits of autonomy

- Darryl Macer
Institute of Biological Sciences,
University of Tsukuba,
Tsukuba Science City,
Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan
Email: Macer@biol.tsukuba.ac.jp

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 11 (2001), 34-41.

This issue comes soon after the release of the human genome sequence data in publications in Nature and Science. Eubios Ethics Institute, began in 1990, at a time around the beginning of the Human Genome project. We have published a number of conference proceedings on discussion of ELSI issues of the genome projects and genetics in general. In the pages of the 62 issues of the journal since then also the themes of genetics have been explored. The latest conference proceedings, from a meeting in Fukui held in November, 2000 are finished and at the printers. However we look forward to further debate on these issues, especially from different cultures.

There will always be division on some of these issues, like whether fetal selection or embryonic selection is a good thing or not. It is up to mothers to decide, however should we have access to any technology we like? This dilemma should continue to plague our minds, and society will have to live with the consequences of the change in what is viewed as "natural" reproductive and genetic health that is happening.

In this issue we see three papers on environmental ethics, an important part of bioethics. As a person who argues for the use of bioethics to cover both medical and environmental ethics, one hopes that we can look at the similarity of principles involved. The use of private transportation is a question of autonomy versus society. So is reproductive freedom and genetic choice, and whether we want to make our children into objects like cars. In fact we should question whether cars should be consumer objects because of the impact they have on living beings and the environment. Please think about whether we should have a quota of environmental harm we inflict on the future generations.

There is a further paper on the human experimentation and murder as war crimes, by Ole Doering. This debate that started two issues ago, will continue. Following that are three papers whose writers consider topics in medical ethics. The review on euthanasia concludes with their personal view against it. The papers on religion and ethics from Jewish and Islamic traditions help us further explore Asian bioethics.

Happy reading, and we welcome comments.
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