"So here we have an entity too alive to be dead, not mature enough to be a viable baby, yet human enough to be specially protectable."
-- Paul Ramsey
A storm has been brewing over legal and ethical questions raised by experimentation on still-living human fetuses. The discussion is complicated by its connection with the issue of abortion: in recent debates, fetal research has become fetal politics. The Ethics of Fetal Research
distinguishes between these two questions.
Paul Ramsey first outlines the various types of fetal research now being done and grants their potential benefits. He then describes the development of proposed American guidelines up to the National Research Act, passed by Congress in 1974. He compares these guidelines with England's recent "Peel Report." In considering the moral and ethical problems involved in fetal research, he deals with ways in which medical policy is formulated in the United States.
This important continuation of Paul Ramsey's contribution to medical ethics does not tell the reader what to think about experimentation on fetuses, but how to think about his new form of human research.