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The Human Embryo Research Debates: Bioethics in the Vortex of Controversy
  1. H Schmidt

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    R M Green. Oxford University press, 2001, £22.50, $US29.95, pp 231. ISBN 0195109473

    United States ethicist Ronald M Green approaches the issue of embryo research (ER) in the very accessible form of a “philosophical memoir” (xv). Reporting in detail from his experience of serving on several high level ethics advisory boards, focusing mostly on his membership of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) 1994 human embryo research panel, Green portrays both the functioning of this increasingly more influential form of institutionalised ethics, as well as the social and political dynamics governing its (in)effectiveness. The author also covers extensive ground regarding the subject matter of ER itself and familiarises the reader with the technical issues and conceptual conundrums (potentiality, moral status, harming future persons) involved.

    Green states in the title of The Human Embryo Research Debates: Bioethics in the Vortex of Controversy, that he is concerned with a plurality of debates. Examining the discourse in the US, he first deals with the different areas in which ER is debated: of the book’s eight chapters, chapters one and four stress the relevance of ER for the fields of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) research, the study of birth defects, and the development of contraceptive methods. Chapter 6 deals with the relation of ER to reproductive cloning; Green formulates a comprehensive …

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