Further comments on the Eubios Declaration for International Bioethics

E-mail: asianbioethics@yahoo.co.nz
Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 12 (2002), 122.


Initial Signatories to the Eubios Declaration and Comments, EJAIB 12 (May 2002), 109-110. Eubios Declaration for International Bioethics (Open for signature from 1 March 2002)
A list of signaturies was published in the May 2002 issue, together with a summary of comments. Further comments are below:

Signatures:

Richard Evanoff, USA, Japan.

Comments from Prof. Hans Martin Sass, Senior Research Scholar, Kennedy Inst of Ethics, Georgetown Univ, Washington DC, USA; Director, Zentrum fuer Medizinische Ethik, Ruhr Univ, Bochum, Germany.

From: sasshm@aol.com

Thank you for sharing the draft of the EUBIOS DECLARATION. Yes, I am ready to support and to co-sign the declaration in this form. Here are a few comments:

No. 7: Sentence 1 could continue 'which would include to act morally and to respect the moral choices made by fellow humans'. [moral development does include not just moral awareness but also moral behaviour].

No. 17/19: [excellent!]

No. 21: 'informed consent from competent participants' should go a step further and use the contract feature as well as the still quite soft-paternalistic consent principle; therefore it could read 'informed consent from or informed and free contracts with ..' [a contract outlines obligations of both parties !]

No 27: Here again one could underline that conceptually making choices requires to act accordingly. One could say 'to face ethical dilemmas and to act responsibly in situations of complex ethical and cultural choice'

Good luck,

I will put the draft on the German webpage

<medethik-list@ruhr-uni-bochum.de>, for comment.

From Prof. John Harris, University of Manchester, UK.

First as a matter of principle I oppose off the cuff declarations by

individual centre's round the world or conference announcements. They create a proliferation of (possibly) conflicting statements of principle and add compromise to compromise in pursuit of consensus.

Second I personally strongly disagree with a number of the points in this declaration. Specifically:

16. Everyone opposes exploitation; but remuneration or even sale of bodies and body products can be ethical. What's wrong with compensating egg and sperm donors etc.?

This clause is dangerous and dysfunctional. Those cases where sale is exploitative need to be carefully distinguished from those where sale is not only ethical but the only way to achieve a morally imperative supply of various bits and pieces. And suppose it is exploitation, perhaps we ought to exploit someone in order to save life.

22. Why add this burdensome qualification to germ line therapy but not to somatic line therapy? Ditto for reproductive cloning.

23. Re-introduction of extinct species seems very complex and difficult. Which species and why? Smallpox? What priority does this have?

24. I have no wish to work towards the love of others! I do not believe love is a mainspring of morality I think it is dangerously and needlessly reductive to say so. And the corollary that those who don't might not be members of the moral community is offensive.

27. People are not equally diverse - what rot! Some must be more diverse than others unless this is not an empirical but a religious point. They may have equal moral and political standing but not because they are diverse. If we want to ground moral and political standing that is very difficult and should not be attempted lightly.

Finally there are numerous places where at present the text is incoherent what does "life is the common heritage of life" mean? What does clause 19 mean?


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