Ethical issues: euthanasia and bioethics
Bioethics could be defined as the study of ethical issues and decision-making associated with the use of living organisms and medicine. It includes both medical ethics and environmental ethics. Rather than defining a correct decision it is about the process of decision-making balancing different benefits, risks and duties. The word "bioethics" was first used in 1970, however, the concept of bioethics is much older, as we can see in the ethics formulated and debated in literature, art, music and the general cultural and religious traditions of our ancestors. Society is facing many important decisions about the use of science and technology. These decisions affect the environment, human health, society and international policy. To resolve these issues, and develop principles to help us make decisions we need to involve anthropology, sociology, biology, medicine, religion, psychology, philosophy, and economics; we must combine the scientific rigour of biological data, with the values of religion and philosophy to develop a world-view. Bioethics is therefore challenged to be a multi-sided and thoughtful approach to decision-making so that it may be relevant to all aspects of human life. The term bioethics reminds us of the combination of biology and ethics, topics that are intertwined. New technology can be a catalyst for our thinking about issues of life, and we can think of the examples like assisted reproductive technologies, life sustaining technology, organ transplantation, and genetics, which have been stimuli for research into bioethics in the last few decades. The field of bioethics underwent explosive growth and institutionalization in the 1970s as challenging issues such as euthanasia, organ transplantation, and genetic engineering attracted the public's attention and concern. Euthanasia is one of the best examples of controversial ethical issues. It is the intentional killing of a person, for compassionate...
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