Applications of new technologies can give rise to profound legal and
ethical dilemmas. This is especially true in the field of biotechnology
where the law-morality dichotomy is proving to be an enormous problem.
Many scientists believe that, so long as it is legal, there should be
no limit on what they can do in their laboratories. When it comes to
scientific experimentation, the question, “Can I?” in the technical
sense is often followed by the question, “May I?” in the legal sense.
Sadly, that is often as far as the inquiry goes. The question that all
too often goes unasked is, “Should I?” The assumption that anything
which is legal is morally permissible is not valid, especially in the
area of bioethical decision making. Those who look only to the law for
guidance in making sound bioethical decisions will be poorly served.
The law is seldom an adequate ethical guide in the biomedical field.
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