Editorial - Bioethical lessons from India

- Darryl Macer
Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 7 (1997), 33.


In January 1997 I had the pleasure to spend 18 days in India, my second visit, to the world's largest democracy. The visit was a continuation of the Asian Bioethics network project which I am coordinating with Frank Leavitt and Jayapaul Azariah. During this January we organized workshops on bioethics in Madras, Bangalore and Cochin. Also we were able to attend a Biodiversity Conference for a session on bioethics in Ahmedabad, and visit colleagues in Delhi.

Although I learnt many things in India, much more than the space left in this issue of EJAIB, I thought the editorial should be entitled this way. There will be more comments and reports from the conferences in later issues, but on the following page is the Madras (Chennai) Statement on Bioethics, which may be one summary of the meeting. Also, in this issue of EJAIB there are a number of papers on euthanasia, and also the beginning of life with abortion and preimplantation diagnosis. Also there is a challenge to utilitarianism with regard to its treatment of genetics, and the revised UNESCO Declaration.

Many of these issues of bioethics are relevant to people of all countries, especially as incomes develop and people in all countries have access to modern medicine. Euthanasia and abortion are common to rich and poor. The proceedings of the Madras meeting will be published within several months, which will provide a picture on bioethics in India. A meeting we thought would have a few people, was attended by 200-300 persons, and a new society should be founded. This was to the credit of J. and H. Azariah, and the other local hosts we had. We plan to have meetings in the next two years also in January as well, under the Network, and encourage readers to join.

More will come on lessons from India, but one is that life is important, be it people or other species. We should give love a chance to grow in every sense of the word. The preoccupation with daily life is not lost in people's lives there, but the interactions with others (be it people or animals in the street) seem to be more frequent. The countryside is still close to many people's heart, something that is lost in life in big cities of the world. Many ideas await the time to put them on paper, now that the last page of this issue of EJAIB is done... next time!

New meetings are planned for 15-17 June in Beer Sheba, Israel, the next in the series of the Network. These will be, on the 15 June, "Bioethics in Theory and Practice: Ethics in Medical Genetics, Agriculture, the Environment and Education" (Sponsored by the Blechner Chair for Jewish Values, and Medical Ethics Centre, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and Japanese Ministry of Education); 16 June, "Impact of Genetics on Medical Ethics"; 17 June, "Bioethics in Agriculture, Environment and Education" (at Kibbutz Shoval). We hope more researchers can join us. The meetings that are planned in Japan from 30 October to 8 November, 1997, are on the last page. Please contact D. Macer or FJ. Leavitt for details.


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