Ethical Analysis:Sperm and the Pregnant Dead vs The Politics of Healthcare
Clinical ethicists have discussed issues such as who owns the sperm taken from a deceased husband or what should be done about the fetus of a woman who is pregnant but also brain dead. Some feel that these earnest and analytical discussions about rare events are a waste of intellectual activity by these professionals and that there are far greater social issues that demand the attention of their reasoning. Others may feel that these social issues framed by political viewpoints are purely political and is a discipline separate from ethics.
On the other hand, some like Randy Cohen writing in the March 21 2002 issue of The Nation with the title “The Politics of Ethics” finds ethics and politics related as he writes:
“…the difference between ethics and politics seems to me artificial, if there is a significant difference at all. Sometimes the distinction is a matter of scale. If one guy robs you, it's ethics, but when 435 people rob you, it's politics--or the House of Representatives is in session. But surely the deliberations of that body are subject to ethical analysis. What's more, politics can be a necessary expression of ethics. Often the only way to achieve an individual ethical goal is through group endeavor--i.e., politics.”
In these current days, within the United States, of political discourse within the media and on “Main street”, it may be wise for clinical ethicists not to remain publicly silent with regard to their views of the propositions presented by the political candidates and their parties of important social issues such as the provision of healthcare but to dissect and explain their understanding of the ethics related to them. In the long run, such critical analysis may be of greater import to us all than fretting about sperm or the pregnant dead. What do you think? ..Maurice.