chapter  12
12 Pages

Bioethics and International Human Rights

WithDavid C. Thomasma

This chapter proposes two types of rules—procedural and substantive—that could form the basis of international, multicultural bioethics. Rules of peaceful dialogue, against xenophobia, and of respect for cultural pluralism fall in the first category. Rules of common good, cultural apprehension, rule respect for persons and existential a prioris fall into the second one. With increased global awareness and the importance of different cultural values, bioethics is more self-reflective than in the past. If fundamental rights in bioethics are to be the moral basis of our actions in health care, then these must be proposed and adopted by international bodies like the UN or the World Health Organization. China provides a good example of the problems with interpreting violations of human rights in bioethics. Bioethics based on international human rights could be carved out using contractarian theory, that is, a human rights ethic could be developed by persons accepting the duties they inscribe.