One for all

September 6, 2012

I am glad that Søren Holm thinks my book Bioethics: All That Matters is an accessible and readable introduction (Books, 9 August), but it is unfair of him to "ghettoise" it as being relevant only to those interested in feminist bioethics.

Artificial reproductive technology issues such as surrogacy and egg-selling occupy just one chapter out of eight in the book. In the other seven, I deal with questions such as whether religion and science are implacable foes, where "enhancement" technologies and stem-cell research are taking us, whether our behaviour is determined by our genes, how and why one in five human genes has come to be patented, and whether we have a duty to volunteer for scientific research supposedly in the public interest. In none of these chapters do I only consider the effect on women, as Holm implies.

The "All that Matters" series of introductions to controversial topics allows the writer a mere 25,000 words to cover his or her field, but the range of topics I deal with in that short space would be fairly typical for any bioethics primer. I'm pleased that Holm does engage in an analytical manner with my earlier books such as Body Shopping and Property in the Body but it feels as if he is talking about them rather than this one.

Donna Dickenson, Emeritus professor of medical ethics and humanities, University of London

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