The Dilemma of the Fetus: Fetal Research, Medical Progress, and Moral Politics

Steven Maynard-Moody, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (235p) ISBN 978-0-312-11785-6
This dispassionate, in-depth report on the fetal research controversy probes what the author calls a fundamental, unresolvable conflict between scientists who view the fetus as maternal tissue and opponents of such research who view the fetus as a baby. The Salk polio vaccine was developed in the early 1950s in part using human fetal kidney cells, and by the 1970s fetal research had become a flourishing field producing medical advances. Supporters point to its potential to develop vaccines, test new drugs, restore nervous system function and cure diseases. Critics, led by but not limited to anti-abortion groups, charge that such research violates moral precepts. Maynard-Moody, a specialist in fetal research policy at the University of Kansas, argues that the controversy has been productive because it has forced society to confront ethical issues while subjecting scientific decision-making to democratic involvement. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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