Why Law and the Life Sciences?
Capron, Alexander Morgan
Hastings Center Report. 1994 May-Jun; 24(3): 42-44.
...Besides being case-oriented and incremental, the method that the law has contributed to bioethics also takes into account that we meet as "moral strangers" who do not "share enough of a concrete morality to allow the common discovery of the basis for the correct resolution of a moral controversy." The law's focus on individuals allows bioethics to negotiate around this moral separateness and pluralism by deferring to each individual to the extent possible. The central danger with this posture, however, is that bioethics could become obsessed with giving individuals due process because that is easier, as George Annas has pointed out, than the frustrating but essential task of developing substantive rules. Whether or not bioethics succeeds in rising to this need, one can be sure that it will continue to be fed by a strong and ever-growing stream of cases and statutes. The greatest challenge for the law and legal commentators as regards bioethics in the next eighteen years may be to help the field tackle the broader social issues of access to and organization of care; since these issues involve community well-being and not solely individual rights, they have generally fallen outside the case-orientation of traditional medical law.
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