To the Editor.—
The COMMENTARY by Drs. Dykes and Czapek on abortus research (229:1303, 1974) encapsulates the diverse but mortal wounds from which contemporary ethical medicine is dying.I assume that the lawsuit brought against the Boston investigators would be to the point that they had performed research on dead fetuses without consent of the mothers. If you can experiment on a dead fetus without permission of the parent, then you could perhaps experiment on a live fetus with the permission of the mother.You know where this sort of thing ends. It must lead inevitably to comparisons with German concentration camps, and research on designates for death. But, of course, we would never be in this if physician researchers saw themselves as healers, and human life as a sacred trust.Drs. Dykes and Czapek are riding in hot pursuit of the perpetual foes of free thought and scientific advancement.
Bestler JM. Research on the Fetus. JAMA. 1974;230(8):1124. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240080014002