Survival of the fittest: the "right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress" and corresponding bioethical issues
Clayton, Maeve Elizabeth
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This thesis shall examine the “Right to enjoy the benefit of scientific progress and its applications” (REBSP) in relation to the contemporary bioethical issue of genetic screening/ testing. The research question that shall be posed is whether it is legally and ethically acceptable to use the benefits of scientific progress, specifically pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for the purposes of prevention leading to eradication of certain genetic diseases. Firstly the right itself and how it is enshrined in various international and regional documents shall be examined, followed by the discipline of bioethics and how recent advances in scientific and technological knowledge could have great implications for this field. Then it will look at practical applications of these benefits of scientific progress and their interplay with other human rights and fundamental freedoms. The recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Costa & Pavan v. Italy will be discussed in relation to potential ramifications this ruling may have for future cases/ scenarios. The concept of human dignity underlies this thesis and is intrinsically interlinked with the REBSP, particularly when taken into consideration with the theories of eugenics. Eugenic fears are frequently invoked when speaking about genetic testing procedures however this thesis shall attempt to assuage those fears by presenting both sides of the argument relating to these contentious yet promising procedures. Some recommendations for the future will be given in order to avoid abusive practices and allow for this right to be fully realised and benefited from the world over.