BIOETHICS: What is it, its 4 Principles and Examples

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As a bridge between ethical values and the biological facts, bioethics has been one of the most prominent disciplines for centuries. From medicine to philosophy, through politics and technologies, there have been many fields and professions in which bioethics has been useful and beneficial to find the necessary balance to support many of the actions of human beings.

If the concept of bioethics is a bit ambiguous and you want to know more details about it, continue reading this Green Ecologist article in which you will learn about the bioethics: what it is and principles.

Bioethics: what is it

The broadest definition of bioethics defines it as that discipline in charge of address different issues of morality of human beings, linked to different actions and advances in biology as an experimental and functional science. Thus, bioethics It is characterized by incorporating the vision and values of ethics when making decisions within the scientific, political, technological, and even philosophical fields of biology.

In the next sections of this article we will focus on knowing the main characteristics of bioethics, basing ourselves on the basic principles that constitute it.

Principles of bioethics

To know what does bioethics consist ofIt is essential to know the main principles on which it is based, since they reflect the function and role that bioethics fulfills as a discipline. In summary, these are the 4 principles of bioethics:

  1. Principle of respect for autonomy: This first principle of bioethics focuses on establishing that the freedom of choice and decision of people must always be respected. Each individual is considered in himself as a person without limitations when deciding on his health and other issues related to the biological sciences.
  2. Principle of beneficence: Based on this principle, bioethics seeks to relate the costs and benefits of all those actions and decisions that human beings make in relation to the ethical values of a biological fact. The ultimate goal will be to bet on the benefit of the individual, as well as to avoid any harm to third parties who may be directly or indirectly involved with said decisions.
  3. Principle of non-maleficence: It is vitally important to include within bioethics this principle focused on the prohibition and abolition of any action that entails negative effects of different kinds, in one or more of the fields in which bioethics acts (biological, political, philosophical, among others. ).
  4. Principle of justice: the fourth and last principle of bioethics is committed to equity, equal opportunities and the fair and equitable distribution of those responsibilities linked to the costs, risks and benefits of the bioethical decisions taken. It also takes into account the rights and materials involved in such decisions.

Bioethics: examples

In this section we include simple and common examples in which bioethics plays an important role in helping people to be capable and responsible for make the most ethical decisions and adequate. Take note of these bioethics examples to understand it better:

  • Abortions
  • Euthanasia.
  • Organ transplants.
  • Organ, blood and / or marrow donation.
  • Assisted reproduction.
  • Invitro fertilization.
  • Artificial insemination.
  • Egg and sperm donation.
  • Human and animal cloning.
  • Testing of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, tobacco and other chemical products on animals. To learn more about it, you can consult this other article by Green Ecologist on How to know if a product is tested on animals.
  • Medical research, as well as biological, pharmacological and technological in animals and in people.
  • Human genetic engineering.
  • Research and clinical trials with stem cells.
  • Use of drugs as a remedy for diseases and pain treatments.
  • Nanotechnologies and reprogenetics.
  • Animal law and humanization of the same.
  • Environmental ethics and sustainable development. In this other post we expand this concept by explaining the Definition of sustainable development with examples.
  • Use of chemical and nuclear weapons.
  • Use of renewable and non-renewable energies. Enter this link if you want to learn more about what are renewable and non-renewable energy and examples.
  • Mitigation measures and / or against climate change and the climate crisis. If you are interested in this point, we recommend you read this other post about the Causes and consequences of climate change.
  • Protection and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems.

If you want to read more articles similar to Bioethics: what it is and principles, we recommend that you enter our category of Society and culture.

  • Lacadena, J. R. (200) Genetics and bioethics. Complutense University of Madrid, pp: 36-44.
  • Cely, Gilberto (1999) Bioethics in the knowledge society. Graphic Contexts LTDA, Colombia, pp: 5-35.
  • León, F. J. (2009) Foundations and principles of clinical, institutional and social bioethics. Online magazine Acta Bioethica, Volume 15 (1), pp: 70-78.
  • Velayos, C. (1996) The moral dimension of the natural environment: Do we need a new ethic? Ed. Comares, Granada.
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