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Transformation of bioethics in America : From individual issue on life to public health

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  • アメリカにおけるバイオエシックスの変容 : 個人の生命に関する問題からパブリック・ヘルスへ

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The aim of this paper is to show the transformation of American bioethics. New technologies in the medical health-care field, such as organ transplantation, withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging treatments, reproductive technologies, and prenatal testing, have provoked various serious problems in the United States since the 1980's. Bioethics has attempted to solve these problems, insisting on people's autonomy in decision-making. Nowadays, people have started to pay attention to health disparities as an urgent social issue in the US. For example, over 47 million people do not have health insurance. Moreover, it has been proved that an individual's health condition is significantly different depending on one's race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. To deal with those issues, the target of bioethics seems to be broadening from the individual level of life and death to the general public health level. In this paper, a review of a brief history of bioethics is presented. Then, arguments which critique the bioethics that focuses on the individualistic approach to health care are examined. Finally, the recent trend of ethics which centers on public health issues is discussed.


  • Bioethics

    Bioethics 19 (1), 120-126, 2009

    Japan Association for Bioethics


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