Source Book In Bioethics

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Government agencies and commissions, courts, and legislatures have during the past several decades produced reports, rendered decisions, and passed laws that have both defined the fundamental issues in the field of bioethics and established ways of managing them in our society. Providing a history of these key bioethical decisions, this Source Book in Bioethics is the first and only comprehensive collection of the critical public documents in biomedical ethics, including many hard-to-find or out-of-print materials.

Covering the period from 1947 to 1995, this volume brings together core legislative documents, court briefs, and reports by professional organizations, public bodies, and governments around the world. Sections on human experimentation, care of the terminally ill, genetics, human reproduction, and emerging areas in bioethics include such pivotal works as "The Nuremberg Code," "The Tuskegee Report," and "In the Matter of Baby M," as well less readily available documents as "The Declaration of Inuyama," the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences statement on genetic engineering, and "The Warnock Committee Report" on reproductive technologies from the United Kingdom. Three eminent scholars in the field provide brief introductions to each document explaining the significance of these classic sources.

This historical volume will be a standard text for courses in bioethics, health policy, and death and dying, and a primary reference for anyone interested in this increasingly relevant field.

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In the past few decades, governments at all levels have developed a host of policies and laws that have framed the dialogue, concepts, and practice of making correct decisions on bioethical questions. Many of these documents vital to the field of bioethics are difficult to find, but this book provides easy access to the classics in the field.… A very valuable resource." -- Choice

"This is a 'must have' for the reference shelf." -- E-Streams

"An invaluable source book for, among others, ethicists, students, health law attorneys, researchers, health care professionals, and ethics committee members." --, Bioethics Forum

From The Critics
Reviewer: Virginia A. Sharpe, PhD(The Hastings Center)
Description: With this volume, the editors have made a valuable contribution to remedying the problem of scarce resources — in this case, resources that document the evolution of the field of biomedical ethics in the Anglo-American West. The editors are well placed to perform such a service as they have played an important role in shaping the field (as well as U.S. public policy) through their scholarship and their participation on important national commissions, federal advisory bodies, and task forces. There is no other single source available for these documents.
Purpose: The purpose is to collect, in one interpretive volume, difficult-to-find, landmark documents in the history of medical ethics.
Audience: The audience includes students and scholars of medical ethics and others who are interested in the contemporary history of the field in the Anglo-American West.
Features: The book is divided into five subject headings. The first four reflect the defining issues of the field: the ethics of research with human subjects; ethics of death and dying; issues in human genetics; and issues arising from human reproductive technologies and arrangements. A fifth section, "Ethical Issues in the Changing Health Care System," presents key documents which, although outside the specific topic areas in the first four sections, nonetheless reflect the institutionalization of practices and values that have fundamentally shaped this field in United States: the values of moral community and distributive justice as reflected in documents on organ procurement and distribution; the value of patient rights and reasonable disclosure in informed consent law; and the emerging consensus on the limits of confidentiality. Each section and individual entry begins with an introduction that usefully sets the historical context. The selections are drawn from landmark legal cases or statutes; national, international, and religious bodies; and specialty societies. What do the documents in this volume tell us about the history of biomedical ethics? They tell us that the field is largely Anglo-American in origin; that the 1970s and 1980s have been very busy years; that manipulating life (and death), manipulating the building blocks of life, and manipulating other human beings have emerged as the central concerns of the field; that this history has been played out on the public stage and has shaped and been shaped by public policy; and that the field has not been particularly concerned with public health questions, with the issue of universal access to healthcare, or with the question of the ethics of healthcare financing.
Assessment: The trick for such a volume is, of course, to decide to what extent the story told by the selections is an accurate representation of history or a reflection of the editors' particular experiences, scholarly interests, or oversights. In this case, given the editors' roles in development of the field, readers can be confident that the selected documents and themes do accurately reflect its history. In addition, it is safe to say that deficiencies reflected in the absence of documents on public health and universal access to healthcare are those of the field rather than of the editors. The largely American origins of the field, and the American emphasis on autonomy concerns, has meant that public attention to these issues has been largely absent, except in the case of the Oregon Health Plan (absent from the collection). No doubt because the United States is far from a consensus on the ethics of healthcare financing arrangements, documents such as the AMA statement on ethical issues in managed care have been omitted. As for other omissions, given the ongoing debates about abortion in this country, it does seem to be an oversight that the Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions are not included. A section on pregnancy and the state could also have included the South Carolina statute extending child protection laws to fetuses as well as state legislation on pregnancy restrictions in living will and durable power of attorney statutes. Finally, although I suspect that the Oregon Death with Dignity Act had not overcome legal challenges when the book went to print, it would nonetheless have been useful to have the United States' first voter-approved assisted suicide measure in the section on death and dying. The editors of this volume have provided a valuable resource by bringing together these signal historical documents. As evidence of the practical usefulness of the book, I plan to use at least two of the selections in a talk and am very happy at the convenience of finding them here.
Library Journal
Compiled by three renowned ethics scholars, this book is a collection of documents in five areas: research involving human subjects, death and dying, human genetics, human reproductive technology, and changes in the healthcare system. Although the editors have written brief overviews for each of the five main topics, background information is limited so that readers will need to refer to longer encyclopedia articles or texts for the historical and philosophical circumstances surrounding these issues. The value of this compilation lies in its single-volume access to the original text contained in many significant bioethical documents. Rulings on Baby M and on Karen Quinlan, the Baby Doe Regulations, and the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act are among the 46 documents that are quoted in full or excerpted. The result is a wonderful complement to such reference sources as the Encyclopedia of Bioethics (LJ 7/95)--there is minimal overlap with this work's appendix--and the Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics (LJ 1/98). Recommended for any library with a concentration in ethics.--Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
Brings together core bioethics legislative documents, court briefs, and reports by professional organizations, public bodies, and governments around the world. Documents are organized in sections on ethics of research with human subjects, ethics of death and dying, issues in human genetics, issues arising from human reproductive technologies and arrangements, and ethical issues in a changing health care system. Jonsen is a professor of ethics in medicine and chairman of the Department of Medical History and Ethics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878406852
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 6/11/1998
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 524
  • Product dimensions: 1.05 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 11.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert R. Jonsen is a professor of ethics in medicine and chairman of the Department of Medical History and Ethics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Robert M. Veatch is professor of medical ethics and former director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.

LeRoy Walters is Joseph P. Kennedy Professor of Christian Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

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Table of Contents



The Ethics of Research with Human Subjects

A Short History
Albert R. Jonsen

The Nuremburg Code

Declaration of Helsinki: Recommendations Guiding Medical Doctors in Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects

On the Protection of Human Subjects: U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare's Institutional Guide

The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research: National Commission

Research on the Fetus: National Commission

Research Involving Children: National Commission

Insitutional Review Boards: National Commission

Federal Regulations Regarding the Protection of Human Subjects of Research

Final Report of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Ad Hoc Advisory Panel

Research on In Vitro Fertilization: Ethics Advisory Board DHEW

Human Fetal Tissue Transplantation Research Panel: National Institutes of Health

The Ethics of Death and Dying

Changing Attitudes Toward Death and Medicine
Robert M. Veatch

Defining Death: Medical Legal, and Ethical Issues in the Definition of Death: President's Commission

In the Matter of Karen Quinlan: The Supreme Court, State of New Jersey

The California Natural Death Act: State of California

Superintendent of Belchertown State School v. Saikewicz

Deciding to Forego Life-Sustaining Treatment: Ethical, Medical, and Legal Issues in Treatment Decisions: President's Commission

In the Matter of Claire Conroy: The Supreme Court, State of New Jersey

Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health: U.S. Supreme Court

Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment: Final Rule in the Matter of Baby K

Ethical Issues in Human Genetics

Issues in Genetics
LeRoy Walters

Genetic Screening: Programs, Principles, and Research

Screening and Counseling for Genetic Conditions: President's Commission

Assessing Genetic Risks: Implications for Health and Social Policy: Institute of Medicine

Recommendation 934: On Genetic Engineering: Council of Europe

Splicing Life: The Social and Ethicla Issues of Genetic Engineering with Human Beings: President's Commission

NIH "Points to Consider" for Gene Therapy Researchers

Gene Therapy for Human Patients: Information for the General Public

Gene Therapy in Man: Recommendations of European Medical Research Councils

The Declaration of Inuyama: CIOMS

Mapping and Sequencing the Human Genome: National Academy of Sciences

Mapping Our Genes: The Genome Projects - How Big, How Fast?: Office of Technology Assessment

Ethical Issues Arising from Human Reproductive Technologies and Arrangements

Reading on Human Reproduction: Introduction
LeRoy Walters

HEW Support of Research Involving In Vitro Fertilization - First Interim Report of the Waller Committee, Victoria, Austrailia

Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology: The Warnock Committee, United Kingdom

Ethical Considerations of the New Reproductive Technologies: American Fertility Society

Instruction on Respect for Human Life: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

In the Matter of Baby M, New Jersey Supreme Court

Infertility: Medical and Social Choices - U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment

Ethics of New Reproductive Technologies: The Glover Report to the European Commission

Ethical Issues in Surrogate Motherhood: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Proceed with Care: Final Report of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies

Ethical Issues in the Changing Health Care System

The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act

Organ Transplantation: Issues and Recommendations

Canterbury v. Spence, District of Columbia

Making Health Care Decisions: The Ethical and Legal Implications of Informed Consent in the Patient-Practicioner Relationship: President's Commission

Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California, Supreme Court of California


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