Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bioethics Questions for Obama and McCain

Our friends at the Hastings Center have published a great compilation of the candidates’ positions on a wide range of bioethical issues. Even more compelling, they have crafted a list of bioethical questions the candidates have not addressed but should:

What will you do to keep politics from biasing tough decisions on climate change, environmental protection, workplace safety, and other science issues?

Do you unequivocally condemn torture? Both of you have said so in speeches, but you have eliminated references to torture on your web sites.

Should the federal government take a more active role in regulating assisted reproduction (as other developed nations do), such as in protecting egg donors from exploitation and preventing clinicians from denying services based on marital status or sexual orientation?

What, if any, government regulation is needed on the use of embryos left over from fertility treatments and stored in clinics?

Would you consider legalizing a market for donated organs to reduce the shortage of organs for transplantation?

In the event of a public health emergency, such has the SARS outbreaks in 2003, what limits on liberty are justified, such as quarantine of infected individuals or other restrictions of movement?

What regulation is needed of the increasing practice of collecting of DNA samples from criminal suspects?

More than 300 million biospecimens are stored in U.S biobanks and used for research purposes; how would you oversee the ethical use of this material, including informed consent from donors, privacy, and ownership of intellectual property?

What role should the government play in supporting promising new technologies – nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and genetic engineering – while guarding against potential safety and environmental hazards?

If your proposals to control health care costs prove insufficient, would you consider rationing health care, such as the availability of costly drugs and technology?


Read the original post here. If you really want to dig deep, you can read the Hastings Center bioethics briefing book free online. It includes thirty-six backgrounders on leading bioethics issues including expert contacts and campaign positions.

2 comments:

Golden Opportunity said...
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PVED Mom said...

Should the federal government take a more active role in regulating assisted reproduction (as other developed nations do), such as in protecting egg donors from exploitation and preventing clinicians from denying services based on marital status or sexual orientation?

PVED: Indeed they should. It's the wild wild west our there right know especially regarding donor compensation. And not only are egg donors exploited but recipient/intended parents.


What, if any, government regulation is needed on the use of embryos left over from fertility treatments and stored in clinics?

PVED: There should be no regulation regarding left over embryos. Once those eggs become embryos they become "related" and belong to the recipient/intended parents, and the parents should have 100% control not the government in regards to their fate.

This should prove interesting -- I wonder if they will ever answer these questions.