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Bioethics

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The investigations that are developed in the field of biology can be great advances for Humanity, but they can also generate multiple debates. Those ethical dilemmas that arise from this type of research are analyzed by bioethics.

This discipline studies both the biological research itself and its applications. Its purpose is to provide principles that promote an adequate behavior of the human being with respect to the different forms of life and the environment in which the vital conditions of the species can be generated.

The German religious, educator and philosopher Fritz Jahr ( 1895 - 1953 ) was the one who first postulated the concept of bioethics. Jahr coined the term in an article he published in 1927 about how the ethical link between people and animals and between people and plants should be. With the passing of the years, and the advance of science, the notion was becoming more important.

It can be said, in a broad sense, that bioethics encompasses all those ethical conflicts that are related to life in general. What bioethics seeks is that moral rectitude and values ​​govern the actions of man with respect to all forms of life.

The abortion is one of the issues that concern bioethics, where it's debated at what point life begins. Euthanasia is also the object of study of this branch of ethics. Another issue that interests bioethics experts is cloning.

Fundamental principles of bioethics

In 1979, two bioethics called James F. Childress and Tom L. Beauchamp established the definition of four principles that lay the foundations of bioethics, which are defined below:

* autonomy: this is the ability of a living being to establish its own rules or norms without external pressures influencing its decision. The nature of this principle of bioethics is imperative and it's necessary that it be respected provided that the individual doesn't have limited autonomy because of health problems, which must be justified. In the field of medicine, informed consent is called the highest expression of this principle and constitutes one of the patient's rights as well as one of the physician's duties;

* beneficence: it's the obligation to take into account the benefit of others before acting, leaving aside the prejudices to focus on their true interests. Doctors should promote actions that respect the needs of patients without allowing their opinions to interpose. The reason for such a procedure, according to this principle of bioethics, is that the professional has the appropriate tools to help the patient and decide what is convenient for him, something that has triggered various controversies;

* no maleficence: it consists in intentionally avoiding any act that may cause harm or harm to others. This should apply to all areas of life, although our species is far from letting others live in peace. In the specific sector of medicine, this principle isn't always easy to notice, because sometimes professionals cause a certain damage to obtain a certain objective, and therefore they can reinterpret it so that it indicates "do not harm anyone unnecessarily";

* justice: each individual must be treated as an equal, without prejudice against their ideologies, ethnicity or economic status, among other aspects of their person. The fight against inequality is one of the most relevant of our era, and without doubt the most powerful people have a fundamental role in ending discrimination, the unfair distribution of goods and hatred based on physical or ideological differences.

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