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The History and Future of BioethicsA Sociological View$
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John H. Evans

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860852

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860852.001.0001

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The Rise of the Social-Movement Activists

The Rise of the Social-Movement Activists

Chapter:
(p.74) (p.75) Chapter 3 The Rise of the Social-Movement Activists
Source:
The History and Future of Bioethics
Author(s):

John H. Evans

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860852.003.0004

The methods used by the bioethics profession were designed in the 1970s, and they fit the interests of the government officials of that time. These officials changed in the 1980s with the rise of the religious right. As this chapter explores through a description of ethics commissions after 1980 that concern the moral status of embryos, these officials turned to social movement activists for “ethical” advice, increasingly ignoring bioethical advice. The loss of faith in the methods of bioethicists is the source of the crisis. This chapter shows how the reaction from liberal bioethicists to the regulatory ethics commission of the George W. Bush presidency accelerated the crisis by further throwing the methods of the bioethics profession into question.

Keywords:   bioethics, professions, public policy bioethics, government ethics commissions, religious right

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