Earlier this week, members of the President’s Council on Bioethics were told by the White House that their services were no longer needed. President Obama’s decision was made and implemented in his typical style—gracious, pragmatic, and imprudent. According to the New York Times, the council was disbanded because it was designed by the Bush administration to be “a philosophically leaning advisory group” that favored discussion over developing a shared consensus. The new bioethics commission appointed by Obama will have a new mandate to offer “practical policy options.”Read the entire article HERE.
In other words, the Obama administration already knows where it stands on all those pesky moral issues like human cloning, chimeras, and euthanasia, and just needs a group to provide advice on how to implement its preferred policies. Whereas the previous councils wrestled with such questions as “What is the nature of human dignity?” the new one will most likely be addressing more practical policy options, such as “How much should we pay women to harvest their eggs for cloning?”
The previous councils appointed by President Bush were accused of being ideologically biased. And so they were. Most of the members appeared to have a bias in favor of dignity and against giving free reign to technological innovations that alter our identity as humans.* The new council, of course, will also be ideologically biased, though likely in a more narrow way that is in line with progressive bioethics. (To predict where the new council will stand you merely have to ask, “What would Art Caplan do?”)
Monday, June 22, 2009
The Politics of Bioethics
Over at First Things Joe Carter reports: