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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 ?
A favorite bioethics technique is aptly described by Koch: "Bioethicists are very fond of lifeboat ethics and its assumption that some must be sacrificed that others may survive because there is not enough for all." (6) The bioethics model also includes a host of societal goals such as "bending down the cost curve" for expensive medical procedures, supervising the medical profession to eliminate "fraud and abuse," (8) etc.
Broader and deeper education for bioethicists is obviously needed.
The latest example was just published in the Journal of Medical Ethics by bioethicist Zoe Fritz:
But another bioethicist, Thomas Murray, condemned the performance-enhancing arms race in his interview with Nature: "I could probably do a four-mile climb much better with EPO," he says, "but I could also do it much better if I put a motor on my bike."
It may not apply to pseudo professionals such as 'IT professionals' or 'real estate professionals' or, for that matter, professional bioethicists or clinical ethics consultants.) This is, essentially, the perspective articulated by McCullough.
These sources show that we bioethicists, rather than looking for new issues, would do better to look at ourselves.
In meetings of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH), which is the major professional organization for bioethicists, and in journal symposia, participants try to come to terms with the question of what kind of enterprise bioethics is.
However, pragmatic bioethicists point out that not every clinical situation is like every other.
Buoyed by these collective memories, good theological bioethicists should become "self conscious mediator(s) between participatory movements for equity in health care; religious and philosophical worldviews and language; dominant institutions of civil society, state, and market; and policy-setting agencies at the grassroots, local, national, regional, and global levels" (p69).
Since Bush's panel was convened in August 2001, the council has politicized biotech research to an extent previously unimaginable, say top scientists and progressive bioethicists. They charge that the council is promulgating Bush's anti-scientific policy agenda, and making it all but impossible for scientists like Lanza to do their work.
In the commentary section of the September 1, 2004, Chicago Tribune, three bioethicists describe the mostly egalitarian nature of the U.S.