What is Bioethics?

Bioethics is the interdisciplinary study of ethical, legal, and social issues arising in the life sciences and health care. Though it has roots tracing back decades or generations earlier, modern bioethics is widely held to have arisen in the late 1960s. Since then, it has helped transform the practice of medicine and inform policy-making about myriad issues concerning the life sciences, from public health and delivery of medical care to agricultural biotechnology.

The Hastings Center is a global ethics leader created from multiple disciplines, including philosophy, law, political science, and education.

Bioethics issues explored at The Hastings Center include the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among Health Policy & Equity, Medical Errors, Organ Transplantation, Psychiatry and Mental Health, Racial Justice, and Disability Bioethics.

Hastings Center Bioethics Briefings contain overviews of issues in bioethics of high public interest, such as abortion, brain injury, organ transplantation, physician-assisted death, and stem cell research. The chapters, written by leading ethicists, are nonpartisan, describing topics from a range of perspectives that are grounded in scientific facts.

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