New Malaise: Bioethics and Human Rights in the Global Era
As far as the poor and marginalized are concerned, bioethics has failed on numerous occasions, be it from lack of influence or failure to consider social justice. This chapter describes bioethics to adopt a new focus. It addresses some specific bioethical issues concerning transnational research and human rights and discusses the overlay of social justice onto bioethics. Applying a “perfect” ethical code in one country alone is an impossibility in the global era. The chapter shows that bioethics must deal with difficult questions regarding social and economic rights in order to retain its authority to judge medical and technological developments. Despite claims of objectivity, science and medicine are both fundamentally social in nature. By advocating sincerely for human rights, bioethicists can encourage those in other disciplines to apply principles of equity and social justice. Medical ethicists and physicians might reply that this is an exercise best left to epidemiologists and to those who study health care systems.