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in philosophy, a branch of ethicsethics,
in philosophy, the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles. Moral principles may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that individuals have constructed for themselves or as the body of obligations and duties that a particular society
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 concerned with issues surrounding health care and the biological sciences. These issues include the morality of abortionabortion,
expulsion of the products of conception before the embryo or fetus is viable. Any interruption of human pregnancy prior to the 28th week is known as abortion. The term spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is used to signify delivery of a nonviable embryo or fetus due
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, euthanasiaeuthanasia
, either painlessly putting to death or failing to prevent death from natural causes in cases of terminal illness or irreversible coma. The term comes from the Greek expression for "good death.
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, in vitro fertilizationin vitro fertilization
(IVF), technique for conception of a human embryo outside the mother's body. Several ova, or eggs, are removed from the mother's body and placed in special laboratory culture dishes (Petri dishes); sperm from the father are then added, or in many cases a
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, and organ transplants (see transplantation, medicaltransplantation, medical,
surgical procedure by which a tissue or organ is removed and replaced by a corresponding part, usually from another part of the body or from another individual.
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). In the 1970s bioethics emerged as a discipline with its own experts, often professional philosophers, who developed university courses on the subject. Many hospitals now employ experts on bioethics to advise on such issues as how to treat terminally ill patients and to allocate limited resources. Advances in health care, the development of genetic testinggenetic testing,
medical screening for genetic disorders, by examining either a person's DNA directly or a person's biochemistry or chromosomes for indirect evidence. Testing may be done to identify a genetic disorder a person has, whether the disorder is already evident or not,
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 and screening, and the new research in genetic engineeringgenetic engineering,
the use of various methods to manipulate the DNA (genetic material) of cells to change hereditary traits or produce biological products. The techniques include the use of hybridomas (hybrids of rapidly multiplying cancer cells and of cells that make a
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, including gene therapygene therapy,
the use of genes and the techniques of genetic engineering in the treatment of a genetic disorder or chronic disease. There are many techniques of gene therapy, all of them still in experimental stages.
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, have also given rise to questions in bioethics.


See W. T. Reich, ed., Encyclopedia of Bioethics (4 vol., 1978); H. T. Engelhardt, The Foundations of Bioethics (1986); R. Macklin, Mortal Choices: Bioethics in Today's World (1987).


A discipline concerned with the application of ethics to biological problems, especially in the field of medicine.
References in periodicals archive ?
9) Staff members need to consider the bioethical standards of autonomy, freedom, objectivity, self-assertion, beneficence and fidelity, so the patient's individuality is respected.
If Cherry's essay is the one that holds least personal appeal then McCullough's mapping of the tension between two different aspects of bioethical thought holds the most.
After all, bioethical advice differs from other forms of advice solicited by corporations.
A former priest who was fired in the mid-1960s from his seminary post for writing an article that challenged the church's position on contraception, Drane believes Catholic bioethics has become too narrowly associated with official church teaching and as such has lost its ability to respond compassionately and compellingly to the more pressing bioethical issues facing humanity.
Non-maleficence describes the bioethical principle of 'do no harm' and is closely related to beneficence and the balancing of risk and benefit.
But the very framing of these issues in bioethical discourse can obscure the underlying forces that create the problems to begin with, whether these forces be the economic organization of society, internalized discrimination against the disabled, the epistemology of medicine, or (and most likely) some combination of all three.
For further information contact: Hillary Wicai Viers, Communications Director, The President's Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues - phone: (202) 223-3963 or e-mail: Hillary.
Aulisio (2003) identifies three features of health care that converge to incite bioethical debates: complex decisions, value heterogeneity (pluralism), and the recognition that individuals have the right to determine their own health care (patient autonomy).
The controversial issue of engineering life in a laboratory raises several ethical and legal concerns, a fact that Venter and his colleagues acknowledged as they asked for a bioethical review in the late 1990s.
Also, in the same spirit, a "green" circuit will clearly indicate the exhibitors who practice a bioethical and sustainable approach.
Beauchamp and Childress have proposed four principles to serve as a basic framework for bioethical thought: the principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice.
A medical student and faculty directors from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics analyzed depictions of bioethical issues and professionalism over a full season of two popular medical dramas--"Grey's Anatomy" and "House, M.