BIOethics Manual for Young People

Publié le 30 Apr, 2006

What is most intimate to life than life itself, the story of our first and last moments? This life we received, we can transmit it. And then, one day, this life will go by, our life and the one of those we love …

Today, science enables to give life as well as death. But how do not be wrong? Until where can we go with the control of life, at its beginning and at its end? Here is the stake of the BIOethics Manual for Young People 1: to train to this immense responsibility, in order not to improvise in an emergency situation.


7 chapters to understand


The Manual deals with the essential bioethics themes: the story of a small human being, abortion, prenatal diagnosis, medically assisted reproduction, preimplantation diagnosis, stem cells and cloning and finally euthanasia. A clear definition, the methods used, the French legislation, the ethic questions and the thoughts as well as accounts are presented for each of these themes.


The ethical stakes


The BIOethics Manual for Young People puts in full perspective the reality of the biological acts and their ethical implications and begins by « removing the doctoring » of words. This way, when a woman is proposed an embryonic reduction or a preimplantation diagnosis, what do they talk about? What is a « designer baby » or a nuclear transfer? What are the consequences of these new possibilities the medicine offers us in the field of life sciences?

If the medical assistance for reproduction enables some sterile couples having a baby, it also generates in France the conception of a stock of more than 120,000 frozen embryos commonly named supernumerary because they do not correspond anymore to a parental project. They can be destroyed or be subject to experiments… This is the way everything begins and that the frontier of ethics pushes back constantly.


To understand before acting


To decide to think, to train before to be faced with urgent decisions which leave no more time to stand back. How many young people today are faced with abortion and decide urgently, subject to the pressure of relatives and time limits to respect, without realizing the consequences of their act all their life long? Can we talk about a free choice? After an unfavourable even uncertain prenatal diagnosis, how many women do attest of the pressure of the medical profession to resort to so-called «therapeutic» abortion and had it without realizing what was happening? Towards which society does this policy of systematic screening for abnormalities and handicap? It is urgent to think about it.



A immense responsibility


The law often is after the technique, pressed for the scientists to authorize in the law what is enabled by the technique. Is it ethical for all that? What does the power of life and death on somebody mean because the law authorizes it? Which freedom are we talking about? And which future does a society enable us where the female model intends to build its identity by killing its children and where does scheduled murder of oldest and more injured people appear as a heights of compassion?

 The purpose of this BIOethics Manual for Young People is to discover the immense responsibility of men and women faced with the transmission of life, to think before being faced with these terrifying questions, to improve knowledge by helping everybody to perceive its own mission.


1. Manuel BIOéthique des Jeunes, by Jérôme Lejeune Foundation: freely available on request at or 31 rue Galande, 75005 Paris – 01 55 42 55 15. 

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