Life Studies Blog (Old)

April 28, 2003

Reconsidering Ethical Issues of Prenatal Screening

I am going to join the conference, "What are the Common Grounds: An American and Japanese Dialogue on Genetic Disease Linked to Racial and Ethnic Groups." 8-9 May, 2003, Tokyo. (Details here) The following is my abstract. (List of abstracts by other participants)

Reconsidering Ethical Issues of Prenatal Screening
Masahiro Morioka


I would like to start with a fundamental question: "What is wrong with prenatal screening?" Many bioethicists might find no ethical problems in prenatal diagnosis, but in Japan, disabled activists and feminists still think that there are ethical problems with prenatal screening and selective abortion even if it is made by free decision. Disabled activists in 1970s argued that technologies that select the quality of human life threaten their "existence" because these technologies systematically deprive them of a "fundamental sense of security." They thought that if these technologies are widely accepted in our society, many people start to see disabled people as humans who should not have been born. Their glances toward disabled people disempower the will to live, and deprive disabled people of a sense of security that they are unconditionally accepted to our society. Disabled activists argued the following points to protect "fundamental sense of security" in our society.

1) They demanded that the existing laws encouraging the erosion of "fundamental sense of security" should be abolished or revised.
2) They demanded the government and scientists to refrain from developing new technologies that would lead to the selection of human life.
3) They hoped that ordinary people would refrain from having prenatal diagnoses and abortions of disabled fetuses.

We need to develop a kind of "wisdom" that we should voluntarily refrain from choosing the alternatives that may erode our "fundamental sense of security," even if they are not illegal. What is needed, in addition to "wisdom," to protect "fundamental sense of security" in our society is to create an "untouchable area (sanctuary)" from technological interventions in human life. That is to say, we put some reproductive technologies or their future possibilities into an untouchable area and prohibit us from using or developing them. In the conference I would like to discuss these points.

Photo: A signboard to urge drivers to slow down. You can see a driver's yell "Oh my God!" ("Uwaa..." in Japanese) and a crying little girl.


* We moved to a new blog. Please visit: http://www.lifestudies.org/weblog/

April 12, 2003

US's Next Target: North Korea?

War ended and some thousand people, including many civilians, were killed. One sided information was provided through TVs in the US, hence, ordinary people in the US may only know a one sided story about the war. I believe people visiting here must have much more information gathered from various websites around the world. We have a special discussion board on the war (in Japanese); we were able to know various information. Anyway, people here are saying that one of the America's next targets would be North Korea. If so, it will be a nightmare especially for us living in Japan because Japan and/or South Korea might be battlefields. Many Iraqis were killed, they are....us.

Photo: Flowers of Magnolia (Kobushi in Japanese).

Link: Pictures of Civilian Victims of the Anglo-American Aggression in Iraq. They say, "Please note that some of these pictures are not suitable for small children and those who have weak hearts."


* We moved to a new blog. Please visit: http://www.lifestudies.org/weblog/

April 04, 2003

Pikachu

I have got a severe hay fever. My nose is stuffed up and my eyes have turned red. The medicine makes me feel very sleepy, so I often sleep during meetings at the college. The other day I was drinking a cup of tea on the roof of a department store, and a big statue of Pikachu was standing in front of me. This is one of the most loved creatures Japan has exported to the world.

What's New: New information was added at
History of Bioethics page. Please give us information about your country.


* We moved to a new blog. Please visit: http://www.lifestudies.org/weblog/