The world’s rapid advancements in the fields of science and medicine have made the issue of bioethics particularly important in recent years. Swift developments in cloning, embryonic research, abortion, body modification, euthanasia, end-of-life, neurology, and a plethora of other hot topics have caused healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public to become increasingly concerned with our ethical and moral responsibilities when facing these complicated issues.
The following websites, put together by BestOnlineCollege.org, are designed to clear up fact from fiction, open a constructive dialogue on bioethics subjects, and spread the word on what is actually happening in the fields of science, technology, and medicine. Most importantly, these sites all aim to help you understand how these issues could and will affect your life. Search through our extensive list of resources by category and location. Finally, before beginning, make sure to check out our quick facts section, which should help give you a foundation on which to base the rest of your research.
Definition: According to the American Journal of Bioethics, bioethics is the study of the many ethical controversies that stem from advances in biology, technology, and medicine. While the issue of bioethics wasn’t officially recognized as an area of study until the 1960s, concerns over medical practices began experience prominent attention after the Nazi experiments in World War II.
What is debated in bioethics? Much of the bioethics debate centers on the idea of “human dignity” and what rights are intrinsic to individuals. Issues often discussed are end-of-life care, organ transplants, abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, population control, and genomics, among other things.
As the human race advances, the question becomes, is there a line we need to be wary of crossing? Where could these types of projects lead? Are we on a slippery slope? Or can these medical advances be a way to drastically improve and help both the world and the human race? Based on your upbringing, religious, location, and education, you may have a very strong opinion on one or more of these subjects.
Where is bioethics studied? Bioethics is studied in a variety of places. Many universities offer entire disciplines on the subject. Independent, nonprofit organizations often focus exclusively on one aspect of bioethics (such as genomics or abortion). Governments usually have branches that may regulate or conduct studies on certain subjects. Different religions often have groups that deal specifically with the subject of bioethics, as dictated by their faiths’ doctrine.
Bioethics: Santa Clara University has articles, cases, and links on medical ethics, biotechnology and ethics, clinical ethics, end-of-life decision making, health care practice, and public health policy. The site is definitely worth a long look if you are interested in medical ethics.
High School Bioethics: High School Bioethics is a page sponsored by The University of Pennsylvania and serves to begin the education of bioethics earlier than college. The site has bioethics tweets, news features, resources, and outreach, all targeted towards teens and their teachers.
Medical College of Wisconsin’s Center for the Study of Bioethics: The Medical College of Wisconsin works to facilitate healthcare professionals, students, policymakers, and community members learn more about the complicated bioethical issues facing modern science and medicine. The site has events, current news, community service opportunities, and research findings.
Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics & Health Policy: Sponsored by Loyola University Chicago, this site has bioethics web discussions, events, programs, guest speakers, and current news.
University of Pennsylvania: The University of Pennsylvania has a fantastic section on bioethics and medical ethics. It lists upcoming events, news and announcements, and links of interest.
American Academy of Medical Ethics: American Academy of Medical Ethics is a site set up to promote the interests of medical educators, medical practitioners and scientists, and the values of the western medical tradition. They have articles on current issues, events and conferences, ethics organizations, and a board of directors that consists entirely of doctors and nurses.
American Society for Bioethics and Humanities: American Society for Bioethics and Humanities seeks to help foster an open dialogue on the research and practice of medicine and science in the United States. The organization has print publication, annual meetings, guest speakers, and programs.
Bioethics.com: Bioethics.com has ethical information on biotech, cloning, disabilities, end-of-life, eugenics, euthanasia, human dignity, public policy, reproductive ethics, and many other useful and highly debated medical ethics issues.
Bioethics.net: Bioethics.net has a easy to use site featuring bioethics news, blogs, journals, and jobs and events. There is also a forum where people can post questions and concerns.
BMC Medical Ethics: BMC Medical Ethics is an open access journal publishing site. These articles are peer-reviewed research articles on the topic of ethical aspects of biomedical, research and clinical practice. This includes professional choices and conduct, medical technologies, and health care policy.
Center for Practical Bioethics: Center for Practical Bioethics is a nonprofit, independent organization that works with healthcare professionals, families, policymakers, and many others to tackle the difficult issues surrounding advancement in medicine and science. The site features resources, a calendar of events, a newsroom, and frequently asked questions.
Genetics & Public Policy Center: Genetics & Public Policy center seeks to help leaders, policymakers, the public, and corporations better understand and appreciate the issues arising surrounding genetics and human health. The site features current news and events, policy and public opinion, and publications and resources.
IALES – The International Association of Law, Ethics, Bioethics, and Science: IALES was founded in 1989 with a goal to be an international network for exchanging information and ideas on “the relationship between science, ethics and society.” The site offers many different views on these subjects and is an excellent source of information for anybody interested in medical ethics.
ScattergoodEthics: ScattergoodEthics works to promote applied ethics of behavioral health. Activities the organization works on are research and scholarship in behavioral health ethics, training and education clinicians and scholars, sponsoring programs and public events, and hosting the ScattergoodEthics Website. The site features articles, recent news, links, and RSS feed, and commentary.
The American Journal of Bioethics: The American Journal of Bioethics has a plethora of articles about current bioethics issues. The site is peer reviewed and well organized. Topics range from everything from AIDS/HIV to human research.
The American Medical Association: The American Medical Association has a page with Resources for the AMA Code of Medical Ethics, a Web-based forum for discussions of ethics problems, upcoming ethics events, and many other things. If you are concerned or interested in medical ethics, this should be one of your first stops to get clear, concise answers.
The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity: The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity is based at Trinity International University. Its aim is to “engage the issues of bioethics using the tools of rigorous research, conceptual analysis, charitable critique, leading-edge publication, and effective teaching.” The site deals with issues such as cloning, neurotics, and reproductive ethics.
The Hastings Center: The Hastings Center is “a nonpartisan research institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest.” It’ website has top news stories, publications, information on important issues of interest (such as end-of-life, nanotechnology, genetic testing, stem cells, and organ transplantation), forums, sponsored projects, and numerous internships and jobs in the bioethics field.
United States Department of Health and Human Sciences: This site has a great list of useful resources for anybody interested in bioethics.
VaccineEthics.org: Vaccine Ethics has the latest vaccine information, including resources, news on the latest vaccines, and links. The site pays special attention to ethical issues facing vaccines.
Wellsphere: Wellsphere is a top health Website with millions of viewers every month. Writers include leading medical writers and healthy living professionals from Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Johns Hopkins. In 2008, Wellsphere was awarded the Center for Bioethics and Health Impact Award for outstanding contributions to health.
iNSiGHTS: iNSiGHTS provides a forum for online discussions about medical ethics and perspectives on antisemitism. Subjects of discussion include, “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” and “Legitimizing the Unthinkable: A Disability Rights Perspective on Nazi Medicine.” On the site, you can also watch and listen to programs presented at the Holocaust Museum as well.
Public Health and Social Justice: This website, aimed at students, educators, and interested individuals, discusses many social issues such as homelessness, food production, and the environment, and how they our own health.
Science Progress: Science Progress publishes the latest news on practical science, genomics, health care, bioethics, biomedical research, stem cells, climate change, food safety, and many other health concerns. The site also has an active blog, and a great deal of commentary on medical ethics. Its goal is to promote public awareness of science and technology.
The International Association of Bioethics: The International Association of Bioethics aims to establish a link in the dialogue existing in various countries around the world. It hopes to facilitate discussion of cross-cultural aspects of bioethics.
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation International Bioethics Committee: This organization consists of 36 experts that follow the progression of life sciences and how said progression improves human dignity and freedom. The site features resources, articles, and events.
World Health Organization: The Ethics and Health section of the WHO Web site contains regional activities, a plethora of bioethics topics, internships, publications, and programs and projects.
Asia Asian Bioethics Association (ABA) : ABA’s goal is to encourage scientific research in bioethics in Asia. They do this through open international and regional discussion with various institutions around the world. In March of 2007, this organization sponsored the conference, “Biotechnology, Culture, and Human Values in Asia and Beyond.”
Eubios Ethics Institute : The Eubios Ethics Institute is a nonprofit group that is based in Japan. Its aim is to help facilitate international discussions on ethics and begin incorporating different belief systems into bioethics to create an international network.
Australasian Bioethics Association: The Australian Bioethics Association hopes to promote the study of bioethics in Australia and Asia, provide a place for an open dialogue on bioethics to take place, and promote awareness of bioethics, health care, and related issues.
Centre of Human Bioethics, Monash University: The Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University researches issues in human bioethics in an attempt to promote study of the “ethical, social, and legal problems arising out of medical and biomedical research.” The Centre also hopes to help in the development of educational programs on bioethics.
Centre for Law & Genetics: Tackling one of the most controversial subjects facing bioethics today, the Centre for Law & Genetics deals with the legal issues surround human, plant, and animal genetics. Take a look at their website and peruse their research, publications, and network.
National Health and Medical Research Council: Working with the government, the National Health and Medical Research Council has an entire section on its site dedicated to “Health Ethics.” Here you can find information on research committees, ethical concerns, and ethical guidelines.
Office of Gene Technology Regulator : The Office of Gene Technology is sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and seeks to provide support to the Gene Technology Regulator to ensure the health and safety of all genetically modified foods in Australia.
Southern Cross Bioethics Institute: Southern Cross Bioethics Institute is an independent organization hoping to promote research in important bioethical issues, such as procreation, end-of-life, and other fundamental human life issues. Their site has a library, recent news, journals, and links.
Princeton University: The Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics has a special section on its site dedicated to genomics. The page has recent news, projects being worked on, a brief overview of genomics and employment positions available.
Université de Montréal: This page on medical ethics published by the University of Montreal has resources, links, publications, and current news and upcoming events.
University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics: The University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics has educational programs on bioethics, publications, research portals, community tools, links, and a consultation service.
European Bioethical Research: European Bioethical Research is a non-profit organization based in Scotland that promotes research and discussion of bioethics. The site features a journal, bioethics news, a genetics newsletter, and other bioethics links.
Bioethics, Journal of the International Association of Bioethics: Bioethics, Journal of the International Association of Bioethics, advertises itself as a “forum for well-argued articles on the ethical questions raised by current issues such as international collaborative research in developing countries; public health; infectious disease; AIDS; managed care; genomics and stem cell research.” The site has a plethora of well-written articles by professionals in the fields of sciences and medicine.
Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is an independent regulator that oversees all use of gametes and embryos in fertility treatment and research and makes sure that companies and individuals are abiding by the ethics standards established by the UK Government.
Human Genetics Commission: The Human Genetics Commission is an advisory board for the UK Government on new developments in genetics and how they may or may not influence human lives. Their primary focus is making sure that the social, ethical, and legal issues are understood by all parties involved.
Nuffield Council on Bioethics: The Nuffield Counsel on Bioethics works to ensure that ethical issues raised by advancements in biology and medicine are closely examined by an independent body. They also offer advice on bioethics to help assist policy makers and open a dialogue to the public.
American Scientific Affiliation: A Fellowship of Christians in Science: ASA consists of men and women in the medical profession who also share a strong commitment to Christian teachings. They have publications, meetings, and resources on their beliefs on ethical standards.
Loma Linda University: Loma Linda’s Center for bioethics has information on bioethics classes, resources, events, and services. All bioethics information that is produced, pushed, or taught is taught from a Christian perspective.
The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network: This organization gives frequent seminars, news updates, and discussions on issues such as abortion, end-of-life, stem cell research, human cloning, human egg donation, and more, all from a Christian perspective.
The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity: CBHD is a leading organization in producing a range of live, recorded, and written resources examining bioethical issues. It uses biblical principles as a guiding point and has held conferences on “The Christian Stake in Bioethics.”
BioEdge: BioEdge is a weekly newsletter that is published by a group of volunteers and contributors who hope to promote ethics in medicine and provide information and commentary on bioethics.
BioNews: BioNews “aims to provide accurate, balanced, and timely news and comment on genetics, assisted conception, embryo/stem cell research and related areas.” The site has a newsletter, a glossary, events, articles written by professionals, and easy-to-use search bar.
Bioethics News: Bioethics News compiles articles written on bioethics, biotech policy, regulation and legal issues onto its website so that individuals can easily scan for the information they want.
Google Groups: Google Groups is a great place to search for the latest news and information on bioethics. Simply search at your leisure and you’ll get a listing of the most up-to-date groups on the Internet dealing with the issue of ethics in medicine and science.
IRB Forum: The IRB Forum encourages the discussion of ethical, regulatory, and policy concerns with human subjects research. The site also has a recent news section, an events listing, links, and resources.
MSNBC “Breaking Bioethics”: Published by Dr. Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania, MSNBC publishes a series of articles based on the issue of bioethics.
News in Bioethics and Biotechnology: From this site you can search by topic (such as animal rights, vaccines and diseases, biotechnology, etc) and scan through an assortment of news articles written on the subject of your choice.
Science and Development Network: Science and Development Network is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing the public with information on science and technology. The site has news, editorials, features, policy briefs, key documents, and links listed.