chapter  14
11 Pages

The Lingua Franca of Human Rights and the Rise of a Global Bioethic

WithLori P. Knowles

In the face of globalization and given that we live in a world with varied, and sometimes conflicting, religious and cultural traditions, to create global solutions to bioethical problems we need a common language to help us fully understand and respond to these exigencies. This chapter addresses the value and limitations of the human rights framework and suggests that it has strengths that can help policymakers communicate concerns, articulate priorities, and frame responses to bioethics problems. The nature of human rights language is, in and of itself, a great advantage to the construction of a global bioethic. No other language commands such strong moral and rhetorical force. Consequently, harnessing the moral and rhetorical force of human-rights language commands international attention to bioethics issues that impact human rights. The evolution of American bioethics has been shaped in large part by focusing on legal precedents and articulated by concepts of noninterference, liberty, and the rhetoric of choice.