Table of Contents Chapter Page Chapter 1 Introduction Ethics and Human Rights General Ideology

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Ethical Implications from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Dr. Joseph Costa, D.H.Sc., PA-C

Health Policy and Management

MPH 525

Allison Erickson

April 2013

Table of Contents

Chapter Page


Chapter 1


Ethics and Human Rights

General Ideology

The basis of morality, ethics, and human rights began its modern development during the Holocaust and World War II. Events like these were a catalyst for the development of the United Nations. In 1948, the United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which it became an international human rights instrument (Nixon & Forman, 2008). Within this declaration, the rights and freedoms were expanded in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In addition to these, there have been over 100 human rights instruments added. “Through these iterations, international human rights have come to be characterized as universal, indivisible, interrelated and interdependent” (Nixon & Forman, 2008).

Human rights, internationally, focuses on protecting the dignity, equality, and unalienable rights of all people (Nixon & Forman, 2008). “This focus translates into an abiding attention to the poor, vulnerable and marginalized – those people routinely excluded from the benefits and opportunities of the political, economic and social mainstream” (Nixon & Forman, 2008). Additionally, the philosopher Peter Singer has expressed that all individuals capable of helping other in preventing physical and mental harm, must (Eleftheriadis, 2012). Singer stated his moral principle by saying,

If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing something of comparable moral importance, we ought to morally do it. By ‘sacrificing something of comparable moral importance’ I mean without causing anything else comparably bad to happen, or doing something that is wrong in itself, or failing to promote some moral good, comparable in significance to the bad thing we can prevent. (Eleftheriadis, 2012, p. 272).

This statement made by Singer emphasizes that the distance separating us from other individuals does not become relevant when a moral duty is required. “So he includes that ‘we cannot discriminate against someone merely because he is far away from us” (Eleftheriadis, 2012).

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