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Books, Journals, New Media
March 21, 2001

Genetics, Ethics: Genes, Women, Equality

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2001;285(11):1516-1517. doi:10.1001/jama.285.11.1516-JBK0321-4-1

Today it is challenging to say something both comprehensive and fresh about the perils and promises of medical genetics. Mary Briody Mahowald's Genes, Women, Equality rises to this challenge. In considering a broad range of issues, Mahowald grounds her argument in the tenets of feminist standpoint theory and advocates a feminist egalitarian approach to judging the ethics of various genetic interventions and addressing the inequities likely to result from their use.

Focusing on justice and equity is itself a refreshing approach in areas—genetics and bioethics—in which threats to autonomy are often considered the primary concern. Yet what often feels most refreshing is not Mahowald's theoretical approach, and what may prove most satisfying is not necessarily her overarching argument for gender justice. Instead, this readable volume offers fresh insights on particular issues, and Mahowald skillfully makes connections and draws on literature that others tend to overlook.