Intended for healthcare professionals


Focus: Brussels Which “Europe” should deal with ethical issues?

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 05 February 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:362
  1. R Watson
  1. the European.

    Advances in medical science and the increasing cross border opportunities offered by the evolving European Union (EU) have brought a new dimension to ethical issues. The wide ranging debate surrounding the news that a 59 year old British woman who travelled to Italy for in vitro fertilisation treatment, which made her a mother of twins, provides a perfect example.

    Angry at the ability of a British citizen to circumvent domestic standards preventing her from having the same treatment at home and use the services available in another member state, the British health minister, Virginia Bottomley, demanded action at the European level. The call was soon taken up by her French colleague, Philippe Douste-Blazy, a former member of the European parliament and mayor of Lourdes. He spoke more graphically of the dangers of in vitro tourism.

    The initial reference to a Brussels role perplexed officials. Few could see grounds for …

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