Writing on "Stem cell politics, ethics, and medical progress"
Nature Medicine (Volume 5, Number 12, December 1999), bioethicists
George J. Annas, Arthur Caplan, and Sherman Elias say that the
Geron Ethics Advisory Board report on human embryonic stem cells
"more like `ethical cover'…than ethics that can be
The authors cite the report's "final ethical principle,"
states that all research on human embryonic stem cells "be
in a context of concern for global justice." Their comment:
"The ethics board seems to recognize what few, if any,
stockholders would concede: If only the rich are likely to benefit
from stem cell research, it should not be pursued at all as
of social justice. This principle follows from ideas of respect
embryonic and fetal tissue that permit its instrumental use
`alleviate human suffering and to promote the health and well-being
of human populations,' but obviously begs the question of whether
for-profit corporations can ever have this as a realistic goal
how the company could be forced to adhere to this principle.
stated in the context of a policy that seems to have been created
to provide an ethical rationalization rather than as an ethical
guidance for research, it is not likely that it can or will