James Drane's More Humane Medicine: A New Foundation for Twenty-First Century Bioethics?
Mellon, Brad F.
Christian Bioethics 2006 December; 12(3): 301-311
James Drane's More Humane Medicine: A Liberal Catholic Bioethics is an outstanding contribution to the study of bioethics in our day. Catholics and others who are interested in the issues discussed here will benefit from this masterful treatment. The author opens with a set of definitions, starting with what he means by a "more humane medicine." Drane contends that a more humane medicine has become necessary and desired, but not because the traditional medical ethic as "a self-declared and self-imposed ethic, outlining what noble service to others entails" is no longer valid. Rather he defines it as an advance on the traditional ethic; a "new foundation" based on a "lived set of obligations derived from a felt commitment to other persons . . . an ethics based on the relationship between doctors and patients and essentially an ethics of virtue." Drane's work is a "liberal Catholic Bioethics" in which he challenges his own faith tradition, the Roman Catholic Church, on such topics as sexuality, birth control, abortion, cloning, stem cell research, aging and dying, and euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The present article is a critical essay that analyzes the author's statements and conclusions.
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