Humanistic Perspectives in Medical Ethics

By Maurice B. Visscher | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
THE ETHICS OF THE PHYSICIAN IN HUMAN REPRODUCTION

Howard C. Taylor

The conceptions of life and the world which we call "philosophical" are a product of two factors: one, inherited and religious conception; the other, the sort of investigation which may be called "scientific" using the word in its broadest sense.

-- Bertrand Russell

Medical ethics depend on a few essential principles so clearly inherent in the doctor-patient relationship that they continue or recur in each new form of society. These principles include the priority of the patient's welfare, confidentiality of information, avoidance of abusing the medical privilege, loyalty to teacher and colleagues, and the duty to instruct. These fundamentals, however, have always been interpreted in the light of current theological and social values, and these are subject to constant change. Never before, perhaps, have such changes been so rapid as in our own era and in no field have they been so profound as in that emcompassing sexual morality and reproduction. Against this

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