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Maria Casado, Director of the OBD, to become member of the Spanish Bioethics Committee

By 21 de December de 2007November 18th, 2020No Comments
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Maria Casado, Director of the OBD, to become member of the Spanish Bioethics Committee

Maria Casado, Director of the University of Barcelona's Bioethics and Law Observatory (OBD), which is based within the Barcelona Science Park, will be one of the twelve experts to sit on the Spanish Bioethics Committee, a new independent and consultative body linked to the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs. The Committee will be responsible for issuing reports and advising both central and regional government in Spain on matters related to the ethical and social implications of biomedicine and the health sciences. The appointment of Maria Casado, as well as that of the other eleven committee members, was announced on 21 December 2007 during a meeting of ministers held in Madrid.

According to Maria Casado, this type of consultative body is essential because technological and biomedical advances generate not only hope but also fear and unease among the general public, and therefore these issues must be addressed from a scientific and social perspective that takes different points of view into account. As she says, “these committees, which are interdisciplinary and plural in nature, provide a highly useful space for reflection and enable proposals and reports to be drawn up in such a way that they lend support to different positions within a framework of basic human rights”.

Maria Casado also believes that the setting up of this committee constitutes an important step forward, as until now such bodies only existed at the level of regional government, along with a number of commissions established within particular sectors in order to debate specific issues in the field. However, there was previously no nationwide bioethics committee in Spain similar to those which have existed for some years now in other European countries.

The setting up of the Spanish Bioethics Committee was a pending issue for central government, as it had been provided for under the Law on Biomedical Research passed last July. Six of the twelve members have been proposed by central government, while the other six names were put forward by the governments of Spain’s autonomous communities, the decision being reached within the Inter-territorial Board of the National Health Service. The appointment of Maria Casado was agreed by a unanimous vote of the Inter-territorial Board and she will be the only woman to sit on the committee.

Maria Casado is a doctor of law, lecturer in the philosophy of law at the University of Barcelona (UB) and the current UNESCO Chair of Bioethics at the UB. She set up and heads the Master’s in Bioethics and Law at the UB and is president of the Bioethics and Law Association. In addition, she coordinates the consolidated research group “Bioethics, Law and Society”, which is backed by the Catalan government, as well as the Catalan Network on Bioethics and Human Rights, the European Union’s Network for the Teaching of Bioethics, and the Bioethics Teaching Network of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI). She currently sits on numerous bodies including the Catalan Consultative Committee on Bioethics, the Advisory Committee of the Interdepartmental Committee on Research and Technological Innovation (CIRIT), the Bioethics Committee of the UB, the Committee of Experts of Spain’s National DNA Bank, the Governing Board of the International Association of Bioethics, the Ethics Committee of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine of Barcelona and the European Association of Global Bioethics. In 2006 she was awarded the Narcís Monturiol Medal for scientific and technological achievement, an award given by the Catalan government in recognition of her contribution to bioethics research from a pluridisciplinary and secular perspective.