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The ethical majority
Last August when Leon R. Kass, SB'58, MD'62, the Addie Clark Harding professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the College, was appointed chair of President George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics, Kass told the Magazine that his first challenge would be finding intelligent people with open minds to join him on the council ("Chicago Journal," October/01). He has met the challenge-at least in part-by turning to other Chicago alumni.

Among the 17 experts named to the panel on January 16 were three U of C alumni. Janet D. Rowley, PhB'45, SB'46, MD'48, the Blum-Riese distinguished service professor of medicine, molecular genetics and cell biology, and human genetics at Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, known for her studies of chromosome abnormalities in human leukemia and lymphoma, will contribute a researcher's "insider" experience. Meanwhile, Mary Ann Glendon, AB'59, JD'61, MCL'63, the Learned Hand professor of law at Harvard University and one of the "Fifty Most Influential Women Lawyers in America" in 1998 according to the National Law Journal, hopes to compare how other countries address bioethical issues. And James Q. Wilson, AM'57, PhD'59, the James A. Collins professor emeritus of management and public policy at the University of California-Los Angeles, will consider bioethics from a public-policy perspective. Wilson and Kass coauthored The Ethics of Human Cloning (AEI Press, 1998).

The council assists the president and Congress in making decisions on a wide range of controversial issues, including stem cell research. The council first met on January 17 to discuss human cloning, a subject on which Kass has written extensively.

While meetings are under way, "the biggest challenge," as Kass sees it, has yet to be met: the council must "find ways of characterizing the complicated moral and human meaning of biomedical advance."
- A.W.


 


  FEBRUARY 2002

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