The Beginning of Life -- Ethical Perspectives
Goolam, Nazeen M.I.
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 1999; 18(4): 577-588
In 1973 Judge Blackmun, in the celebrated case of Roe v Wade, stated that "we need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins". A quarter of a century later, there is indeed a need to attempt to resolve this question. This article sets out briefly ethical issues arising from medically-assisted procreation and analyses the concepts of life, personhood and the beginning of personhood. It is submitted that the fundamental criterion in resolving the issue is to rethink the value and dignity of human life in a technologically advanced world. Since the ultimate wisdom on the purpose of life emanates from God, the article analyses diverse theological perspectives, in particular that of Christianity and Islam. In valuing human life, the article asserts that human beings must use technology responsibly and to humankind's benefit, rather than submit to exploitation by it.
Abortion; Artificial Insemination; Beginning of Life; Cells; Christian Ethics; Cloning; Cross-Cultural Comparison; Donors; Embryo Donation; Embryos; Ethics; Fetuses; Germ Cells; Government; Government Regulation; Islamic Ethics; Life; Moral Status; Mothers; Ovum; Ovum Donors; Personhood; Philosophy; Procreation; Regulation; Reproductive Technologies; Surrogate Mothers; Technology; Value of Life; Philosophical Ethics; Religious Ethics; Value / Quality of Life; Reproduction / Reproductive Technologies;
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