A new book highlighting the intersection between medicine and law has been launched in Nairobi targeting professionals and students in the two fields.
The book -authored by distinguished judge Justice Isaac Lenaola and scholar Prof. Marion Mutugi – is titled; “Bioethics of Medical Advances and Genetic Manipulation” is published by Longhorn Publishers and looks at the explosion of medical technologies and accompanying ethical challenges that may not be catered for by existing laws.
According to this book, it is evident that emerging advances in medicine and genetic manipulation are extremely dynamic and many laws in many countries are lagging. Therefore, there is need for country-specific interpretation and operationalization of ethical principles and norms to ensure compliance with and acceptability to specific social, cultural, religious beliefs, norms and customs.
“As scientific and technological advances continue, there must be a moral and ethical minimum to ensure a balance between benefit and harm of not just individuals but the global community as a whole,” reads the book in part. “This will lead to legal provisions that will remove the lacunae and/or narrow the gap between scientific advances and regulation.”
The book is expected to stimulate debate among policy makers aimed at enacting and/or amending existing laws in view of emerging trends in science and technology that have implications on the various fields of human existence.
“For example, (here in Kenya) there is need for legislation clearly indicating who a parent is in respect to the siring and rearing father and the genetic, bearing or rearing mother,” the book recommends.
Another case concerns the issues around the beginning and end of life where conception as stated in the constitution requires further definition as either fertilization or implantation. “Such amendments will ensure that the laws of Kenya are adaptable and responsive to research advances within the specific social, cultural, economic environment,” the publication adds.