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June 7, 1995


Author Affiliations

Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC

JAMA. 1995;273(21):1674-1676. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520450044022

Late in 1994, two previously impassable ethical barriers were crossed in the United States: Oregon became the first jurisdiction to legalize physician-assisted suicide,1 and, for the first time, a National Institutes of Health advisory panel approved funding for the production of human embryos for research purposes.2,3 Both measures are temporarily in limbo, one as a result of an Executive Order (Washington Post. December 3,1994:A1, A8) and the other as a result of a constitutional challenge (Washington Post. December 28,1994:A7). Vigorous debate promises to continue for many years as these and related efforts to control the beginning and ending of human life are advanced as public policy. (In the spirit of these reviews, I will not argue my positions. Lest this be misunderstood as moral neutrality, I declare myself firmly opposed on moral grounds to both physician-assisted suicide and the production of human embryos for research purposes.)

Both measures

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