Today more than at any time in history, we are facing new challenges in medical practice, biomedical research, and in the moral and ethical issues surrounding such fields as cloning, stem cell research, gene therapies and the like.
Is it morally right to clone a human being? Should genetically impaired children be aborted, given the enormous cost of caring for them? Is it morally right to screen in vitro for genetic defects? Is there anything wrong with voluntarily taking one’s own life? Is there really anything wrong with destroying a human embryo in the name of scientific discovery?
These issues and many more, all have the potential to generate heated debate, disagreement, and much more. Because passionately held beliefs have the potential to escalate into violent conflict, shouldn’t we establish some principles first, then use those principles to generate specific rules as new discoveries are made?