When the four American moral philosophers who individually have already made the most significant contributions to the ethical analysis of contemporary health care and medicine collaborate, it should come as no surprise that their joint effort is a lucid and powerful analysis of the principles that a just and humane society would employ in setting policies about how the new tools of molecular genetics should be used for human betterment. In From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice, Allen Buchanan, Dan W. Brock, Norman Daniels, and Daniel Wikler aimed to steer a middle course between two extreme models. The first model is what they termed the public health model, which measures good in terms of improving the genetic health of society.
The second model is the personal services model, which measures good in the satisfaction of individual choices.
Although the public health model led to the racist and classist eugenics that marred the Progressive Movement in the United States in the early decades of the twentieth century and then culminated in the crimes of Nazism,
the reaction to those excesses created the present devotion to “nondirective genetic counseling” that produces excesses of personal autonomy.
According to this excess of
personal autonomy, all choices are equally legitimate, without regard for justice or equality, and are no different than choices about any goods purchased in a marketplace.
Alexander M. Capron,
Punishing Reproductive Choices in the Name of Liberal Genetics,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol39/iss3/6