Document Detail

The appeal to nature implicit in certain restrictions on public funding for assisted reproductive technology.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21929706     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Certain restrictions on public funding for assisted reproductive technology (ART) are articulated and defended by recourse to a distinction between medical infertility and social infertility. We propose that underlying the prioritization of medical infertility is a vision of medicine whose proper role is to restore but not to improve upon nature. We go on to mark moral responses that speak of investments many continue to make in nature as properly an object of reverence and gratitude and therein (sometimes) a source of moral guidance. We draw on the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein in arguing for the plausibility of an appeal to nature in opposition to the charge that it must contain a logical fallacy. We also invite consideration of the moral plausibility of some appeal to nature. Finally, we examine what follows in the case of ART. Should medicine respect as natural limits that should not be overcome: the need for a man and a woman in reproduction; menopause; and even declining fertility with age? We must first ask ourselves to what degree we should defer to nature in the conduct of medicine, at least in the particular if not the general case. This will involve also asking ourselves what we think is natural and in what instances and spirit might we defy nature. Divergent opinions and policies concerning who should receive ART treatment and public funding are more easily understood in view of the centrality, complexity and fundamental nature of these questions.
Drew Carter; Annette Braunack-Mayer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Bioethics     Volume:  25     ISSN:  1467-8519     ISO Abbreviation:  Bioethics     Publication Date:  2011 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-09-20     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8704792     Medline TA:  Bioethics     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  463-71     Citation Subset:  E; IM    
Copyright Information:
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
University of Adelaide - School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, Adelaide, South Australia School of Population Health and Clinical Practice and Professor in Ethics in the Discipline of Public Health.
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