Ethical Concerns in the Community About Technologies to Extend Human Life Span
American Journal of Bioethics 2009 December; 9(12): 68-76
Debates about the ethical and social implications of research that aims to extend human longevity by intervening in the ageing process have paid little attention to the attitudes of members of the general public. In the absence of empirical evidence, conflicting assumptions have been made about likely public attitudes towards life-extension. In light of recent calls for greater public involvement in such discussions, this target article presents findings from focus groups and individual interviews which investigated whether members of the general public identify ethical issues surrounding life-extension, and if so, what these ethical issues are? In this study, while some participants were concerned primarily with the likely personal consequences of life-extension, for others the question of whether or not to pursue interventions to extend longevity, and how they should be implemented, clearly raised important ethical issues, many of which have been prominent in debates among bioethicists.
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