Pleasants, Gabriel J. “Bioethics and Human Rights”, Boston College, 2007. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/508.
This study investigates the recent paradigm shift in bioethics to an approach that uses the language of human rights to work towards social justice and health equity. It follows the three stages of Kuhn's "paradigm shift": recognizing the fallibility of the first paradigm and proving its destructiveness, presenting the theoretical particulars of a new paradigm, and demonstrating how the new paradigm becomes operational. The case study of the organ trade shows the failure of the first model of bioethics, based on autonomy and non-maleficence. This model falsely depicts the true ethical challenges while shadowing the enormous harms it causes. An emerging bioethical model centered on human rights is presented as the best theoretical option to remedy the ills of the first paradigm and make sense of bioethical dilemmas across the globe. But the second paradigm cannot simply look better, it must be operational. Applying the human rights model, the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa achieved universal access to antiretroviral treatment, thus confirming the theory of the new paradigm in action. The study concludes with a call for an ethics of implementation within the new paradigm that balances the radical ideal of health as a human right with concrete and pragmatic improvements in healthcare; an ethics of "being on the way" to the ultimate goal of justice and equity in health.