Volume 4, 1998
Bioethics and Medical Ethics
An Evolutionary-Ecofeminist Perspective on Xeno- and Human Fetal Tissue Transplantation
The ecofeminist critique of dualism is applied to a consideration of two alternative paths that we might take in transplantation medicine: the utilization of organs and tissues taken from nonhuman animals, and/or further development of techniques for employing human organs and tissues, including human fetal tissue. It is concluded that from an evolutionary perspective, the assumption of a vast value disparity between human and nonhuman life is untenable, and from a moral point of view the establishment of yet another institution based on a dualistic opposition between human life, postulated to be of ultimate value, versus devalued, disposable "other" life is unacceptable. We are urged to forego xenotransplantation and instead take responsibility for whatever manipulations we choose, respectfully, to make with life that is already valued as "self" rather than "other."