God's bioethics: Bioethics and Public Policy
Nov 12, 2005 - 8:45:38 PM

The Women's Bioethics Project, a non-partisan, public policy think tank, announced the release of a report detailing a concerted effort by conservative groups to dominate so-called "bioethical issues" surrounding emerging technologies. The report, titled "Bioethics and Public Policy: Conservative Dominance in the Current Landscape," analyzes the involvement of both progressive and conservative bioethics centers, including traditional think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, as well as religious groups such as James Dobson's Focus on the Family.

"The rapid advance of biotechnology is quickly outpacing our ability as a society to absorb the effect it will have on our lives," said Kathryn Hinsch, founder of the Women's Bioethics Project and author of the report, "The institutions we have relied on for guidance on difficult moral issues--whether organized religion, government, or the academy – have failed to keep pace with science or societal implications underlying these issues. Because of this confusion, disarray, and public policy flux, the opportunity to influence the direction of public opinion is up for grabs. Essentially, whoever gets there first will frame the debate on these issues and will affect us all for decades to come."

To date, only extremely conservative and overtly religious groups have devoted substantial resources to pushing a broad bioethics agenda. "Bioethical issues ranging from stem cell research to the Terri Schiavo case are the battlefield for defining the kind of world we want to create," said Jonathan Moreno, bioethicist and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "The Women's Bioethics Project analysis is an important wake-up call to people who care about scientific progress and the ability to decide what is right for their own families. The time to engage in these issues is now."

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