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What is Bioethics?

Ethics aims to figure out what the right thing is to do or what the best course of action is.  It helps people decide how to behave and how to treat one another and what values should prevail.

Bioethics is the interdisciplinary study of ethical issues arising in the life sciences, health care, and health and science policy. 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.

Bioethicists have been at the center of many elements of the COVID-19 pandemic. These issues include vaccine access, vaccine hesitancy, triage / crisis standards of care, and how to respond to a health emergency ethically and morally.

The Hastings Center is a global ethics leader engaging 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 & EquityMedical ErrorsOrgan TransplantationPsychiatry and Mental HealthRacial Justice, and Disability Bioethics.

Hastings Center Bioethics Briefings contain overviews of numerous issues in bioethics of high public interest, such as abortion, brain injury, organ transplantation, medical aid-in-dying, and stem cell research. The chapters are written by leading ethicists representing a broad range of perspectives.

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