Commentary on Daniels

- Masahiro Morioka
Integrated Arts and Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University,
Gakuencho, Sakai, Osaka 593, JAPAN

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 8 (1998), 148.

Ken Daniels talks about the "best interests of children" in the field of bioethics, especially in cases where the anonymity of the gamete providers is at stake. He points out several important viewpoints, but his conclusion is not so clear.

As we already know the "best interest of children" argument has some serious problems. First, we can not know what decision-making will be the other's best interest because we can not replace ourselves with that person. Second, in addition, even the person him/herself can not know what will be his/her future best interest because the person may change his /her interest in the process of his/her life. Particularly in the case of children, their interests, ways of thinking, and their value system would rapidly change.

Hence, I believe, by the words "the best interest of children" we should not persist in what will be their "real" future interest. Instead we have to use the words as a declaration that the most important thing is not our own interest, hence that we must refrain from placing much expectations onto our children because that sort of expectations are "our interests" on the child, not the "interest of that particular child." Parents sometimes confuse these two concepts, and behave paternalistically in a bad sense of the word. Bioethics should examine this type of paternalism from a different angle.

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