Is the ecology compatible with bioethics?

Publié le : 24 May 2013

 On 14 May, the daily La Croix devoted its Sciences & éthique supplement to the point of view of French ecologists on bioethics. Jean-Marie Pelt, founder of the European Institute of Ecology, says that "the ecology means above all the awareness that there are limits to our actions involving nature," and "this prudence applied to the living world must apply even more so to human beings." Hence, the "avant-garde" position adopted by certain ecologist MPs, such as making medically assisted procreation available to female couples, relaxing certain principles regarding surrogacy or the authorisation of research on the embryo, make him "uneasy". The agro-ecologist Pierre Rabhi also issues a warning: "beware of this temptation of man the demiurge who thinks he can do better than nature."      

Ecologists believe that we must scrutinize the limits of techniques, without denying their advantages outright, the journalist points out: "What should we entrust to them? Can we gain or not from applying technical solutions for some biological aspects? Will they be beneficial in terms of human relations? What would be the potential perverse effects?" Dominique Bourg, philosopher and professor at Lausanne university, believes that these questions are all the more justified when the human body is involved.         
The journalist reminds readers that very often "the positions adopted on the question of bioethics are […] all the more delicate because the religious dimension is never far off." On this point, Bernard Perret, an economist and specialist in sustainable development, states that "the political divisions in force mean that a Green Party member cannot be right-wing or a Catholic activist." This is confirmed by an MP and member of the Green Party (Europe Ecologie les Verts, EELV) : "when I say in public that I am in favour of the defence of all living things, people say that it sounds like a ‘pro-life’ position."           
In the European Parliament, the ecologist outlook is more united. Alain Lipietz, a former MEP, points out: "when it comes to voting on the research budget, we have always chosen to replace research on embryonic stem cells by research on adult stem cells because there is a great risk involved in the manipulation of human reproduction.

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