The Basis for Evaluation of an Ethical Position


Ethics Committee of the American Fertility Society


People use many different yardsticks to judge the ethical character of their actions. Very often, the basis for judgement remains implicit, even unexamined. Thus, there are appeals to immediate utility, religious authority, a sense of the appropriate (or a kind of "gut feeling"), vocational commitments, self-fulfillment and autonomy, and the legally prescribed or proscribed, etc. All of these considerations legitimately have a bearing on determination of what is ethically right or wrong. For instance, one cannot ignore the legal status of an action or omission in an overall ethical evaluation.(...)

Because the assessment of what is promotive or detrimental to the person, integrally and adequately considered, is a broad one, it must be recognized that a moral "yes" or "no" is not always an absolute. Such a judgment may represent only a pause on a path toward a consensus that has not yet been clearly spelled out.

Ethics Committee of the American Fertility Society. The basis for evaluation of an ethical position. Fertility & Sterility 1990;53(6 Suppl.2):1s.

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