Some bioethicists believe we all have a duty to be experimented on. The nature of this duty takes several forms, for example there is a the utilitarian view that we must as individuals subsume our own desires to promote the greater good. Three bioethicists, writing in JAMA, (G. Owen Schaefer, Ezekiel J. Emanuel (Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuaels brother), and Alan Wertheimer, argue in the JAMA (The Obligation to Participate in Biomedical Research,July 1, 2009Vol 302, No. 1) reject that approach in finding a moral duty. But they do posit that there is an obligation for each of us to willingly take part in biomedical experimentation because it serves the public good, which they say is akin to paying taxes. They write in part:
The standard view of research participation must be changed from one in which participation is supererogatory to one in which individuals need to give a good reason not to participate. The shift should be from participation in biomedical research being, like charity, above the call of duty, to such participation being a moral obligation for everyone to do his or her part
The authors don’t call for the obligation to be made a legal requirement, but the question becomes whether that forbearance would long remain operable should the putative duty they espouse ever become the mainstream view among the elites. Secondhand Smoke has more details .
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