This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores how and why bioethics became so influential in Britain, including the archives of government departments, public inquiries, universities and professional organisations, as well as private papers, published materials, press reports, television programmes and interviews. It looks at why doctors and scientists came to regulate themselves throughout the nineteenth and for much of the twentieth century. The book examines why outsiders increasingly joined debates on medical procedures such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) during the late 1960s and 1970s, and shows how this was led by Anglican theologians. It also examines the growth of bioethics in British universities during the 1980s and 1990s. The book also explores how some senior doctors and bioethicists led calls for a politically funded national bioethics committee during the 1980s.

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