Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1868309
 


 



Federalism and Bioethics: States and the Moral Pluralism


Alicia R. Ouellette


Albany Law School

James Fossett


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sean Philpott


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Glenn McGee


Center for Practical Bioethics

David Magnus


affiliation not provided to SSRN

2007

Hastings Center Report, Vol. 37, p. 24, 2007)

Abstract:     
Bioethicists can be fairly accused of wanting to solve complex problems with single standards and national institutions. Both liberal and conservative bioethicist, have pressed for national standards administered by federal agencies across a wide variety of issues, ranging from research ethics and assisted reproduction the governance and financing of stem cell research. Despite this national focus, states have been and will continue to be principal players in bioethical decision-making. As a consequence, the discipline has not adequately understood how federalism affects the development of policy and the rights of individuals.

The premise of this paper is that bioethicists' neglect of federalism is a mistake on two levels: it gets the facts wrong, and it downplays the important benefits of the division of power between the states and the federal government. Rather than being peripheral actors, state legislatures and courts have been and continue to be major participants in the establishment and implementation of bioethics policy. Moreover, state activism in bioethics is not a bad thing. A federalist system - a system that distinguishes between the limited but supreme powers of a central government on the one hand and the broad sovereign powers of each of the states on the other--offers considerable advantages in managing the political conflicts that inevitably arise from moral pluralism, particularly around questions where there is no clear national consensus. Attention to federalism is especially critical now, given the many current and emerging issues that either much areas where states are already major actors or seem likely to produce the divided views among both policy-makers and the public that have driven recent state activism.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 12

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Date posted: June 20, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Ouellette, Alicia R. and Fossett, James and Philpott, Sean and McGee, Glenn and Magnus, David, Federalism and Bioethics: States and the Moral Pluralism (2007). Hastings Center Report, Vol. 37, p. 24, 2007). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1868309

Contact Information

Alicia R. Ouellette (Contact Author)
Albany Law School ( email )
80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

James Fossett
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Sean Philpott
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Glenn McGee
Center for Practical Bioethics ( email )
1111 Main Street
Suite 500
Kansas City, MO
United States
267-259-9479 (Phone)
215-827-5917 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://bioethics.net
David Magnus
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Feedback to SSRN


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