American Journal of Bioethics.

Bioethics: Looking Forward and Looking Back

Historians in the field have identified the 1960s–1970s with the birth of bioethics (Baker and McCullough 2009; Jonsen 1998), noting that this period was marked by dramatic advances in biomedical technology that raised moral questions and anguished responses from the public. Among these advances are the development of the birth-control pill in 1960, the development of the positive pressure mechanical ventilator to provide artificial respiration in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the development of the first cadaveric kidney transplant in 1962, the development of hemodialysis from 1960 to1970, the establishment of the “God Committee” at Seattle’s Swedish Hospital to allocate use of dialysis machines in 1962, and the birth of Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, on July 25, 1978. During this era, U.S. courts rendered landmark decisions on a number of medical issues such as contraception [Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)], abortion [Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)], the right to refuse medical treatment [U.S. Supreme Court O’Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975)], and the right to discontinue life-preserving treatment [In re Quinlan, 70 N.J. 10, 355 A.2d 647 (1976)]. […]

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Volume 13, Issue 1
January 2013