alexa Conceiving a child to save a child: reproductive and filial ethics.

Author(s): Jecker NS

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Abstract I conclude that Mary and Abe's decision to conceive a child to save a child does not impose harm on persons or on relationships in the family. Nor does it evince a lack of respect for the child they have conceived. The ethical guidelines that support this conclusion can now be summarized. First, actions should not depersonalize or otherwise endanger personal relationships. Second, although ideally personal relationships are initiated and continued for their own sake, after a personal relationship has been established and sustained the motives for establishing it recede in importance. Third, the requirement of honesty looms especially large in the context of personal relationships. Fourth, privacy protects personal relationships in the family from intrusion by the state. Fifth, even if those with whom we stand in personal relationships are not fully rational or self-conscious, we should treat them with respect. Finally, persons often are called upon to make greater sacrifices in personal relationships. These principles represent only the barest beginnings of an ethics for filial relationships. Nonetheless, they mark progress in the direction of developing a more complete account. We should not suppose that ethics in the family always will be spontaneous or "natural". Over a century ago, Mill warned that nature and natural are "one of the most copious sources of false taste, false philosophy, false morality, and even bad law". Especially in the wake of medical advances, such as recombinant DNA and new reproductive technologies, the complexity of filial ethics will only increase. The demographics of an aging society will add further complexity to filial contexts.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
This article was published in J Clin Ethics and referenced in

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