May 21, 2024

Dramatic shift to progressive bioethics under Obama likely

Moreno and Charo appointed to transition team
Jonathan MorenoUnder President Barack Obama there will be a dramatic shift toward progressive bioethics, judging from appointments to his transition team. The head of the review team on the President’s Council on Bioethics is Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. Moreno is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

A pragmatist who is a warm admirer of the post-modern American philosopher Richard Rorty, Moreno wants bioethics to return to its roots in public welfare rather than narrow questions of personal autonomy. He was a strong critic of President Bush’s bioethics council because it functioned more like a moral philosophy seminar than an advocate for patients’ rights. "They have the bully pulpit on bioethics and they are not using it," he said in 2005.

Another prominent progressive bioethicist has also been appointed to the transition team. R. Alta Charo, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, previously a member of President Bill Clinton’s Bioethics Advisory Commission, will serve on the Health and Human Services team. As chair of a National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine committee, she plays a leadership role in writing stem cell research guidelines. For decades Charo has been a longstanding supporter of pro-choice policies and has served as an advisor to the Guttmacher Institute, a national organization involved in reproductive rights.

For those interested in reading the tea leaves, here is the bioethics vision of the Center for American Progress:

"Rather than decry progress as inherently dangerous, CAP embraces the promise of science to improve our lives with a critical optimism that understands that science must be guided by our values. CAP promotes human dignity by providing the social, political, and economic conditions individuals need to realize their own goals, without unduly interfering in their personal choices. We understand government must regulate science so that it proceeds within our existing ethical framework, without needlessly restricting scientific progress or ignoring the value of scientific fact." ~ Daily Cardinal, Nov 19


One thought on “Dramatic shift to progressive bioethics under Obama likely

  1. The thrust of MercatorNet and of BioEdge is clearly pro-life. So I’m confused by the headline of this story: ‘Dramatic shift to progressive bioethics . . .’. What is progressive about creating embryos to destroy them?

    And why do you use the term ‘pro-choice’ in the story and in ‘Related stories’ when you mean pro-abortion?

    The corruption of language is part of the moral corruption of our times.

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