A Gower Maneuver: The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities' Resolution of the "Taking Stands" Debate
Antommaria, Armand H. Matheny
American Journal of Bioethics [Online]. 2004 Winter; 4(1): W24-W27
The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities debated for several years about whether it should adopt positions and, if so, on what range of issues. The membership recently approved an amendment to its bylaws permitting the Society to adopt positions on matters related to academic freedom and professionalism but not on substantive moral and policy issues. This resolution is problematic for a number of reasons, including the lack of a categorical difference between these types of claims and the Society's inability to speak on behalf of patients and research subjects. The implementation of the amendment also raises several issues. The Society will need to refrain from speaking too specifically and to articulate the responsibilities of its members. If the Society fails to address these concerns, it runs the risk of denigrating its public image and that of the profession.
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