May 20, 2024

Indian bioethics

Hi there,

A musical about
euthanasia? When I first heard the news, I thought the director was trying to
upstage Mel Brooks’s slapstick comedy The Producers. That featured “A
Springtime for Hitler”, a musical which showed “the true Hitler, the
Hitler with a song in his heart.”

But it turns out
that the musical is a lavish Bollywood production called Guzaarish (The
Request). Musicals are the natural medium of Bollywood, so it’s a bit unfair to
compare it to Mel Brooks.

However, it is a
good reminder of the growing prominence of India in bioethical quandaries. Sex
selective abortion? Tens of millions of girls have been aborted. Surrogacy?
There are villages where bearing other people’s babies is an important
contribution to the local economy. IVF? Some Indian doctors are pushing for a
share of the world market. Graft? The former president of the Indian Medical
Association is facing jail on corruption charges.

I wonder whether
Indian medical students are being trained in a bioethics which supports human
dignity. They already have to face tremendous challenges. Will they have the
philosophical resources to resist pressure for legalised euthanasia?

Is anyone out
there better informed?


Michael Cook