German judge says scientific progress subject to ethics and law

.- Justice Winfried Kluth of the Constitutional Court of Germany said this week scientific advances must be subject to ethical principles and to the law.

During a seminar on bioethics at the University of Navarra in Spain, Justice Kluth defended palliative care against calls for euthanasia, stressing that faced the with the reality of terminally ill patients, the mission of medicine, research, and society is “to diminish suffering and help the families.”

In this sense, he criticized the suggestion that babies in the United Kingdom with severe abnormalities be subject to death.

Kluth also warned that research with embryos treats human persons as mere objects, such that, “their characteristic as bearers of universal human rights, as is acknowledged in
Germany, is not respected.”  Science can go down many paths, he said, “but the one chosen should be ethically and legally admissible.”

The German high court justice also recalled that there has been little success from research with embryos and therefore to promise cures for serious diseases from such studies “does not have a serious basis.”  

“More attention should be given to less spectacular work that is carried out to contribute to the health of human beings,” he said.

Science and legislation, he stressed, should make decisions “that conform to the principles of law and morality and should not be driven solely by the idea of progress.”

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