The international growth and influence of bioethics has led some to identify it as a decisive shift in the location and exercise of 'biopower'. This book provides an in-depth study of how philosophers, lawyers and other 'outsiders' came to play a major role in discussing and helping to regulate issues that used to be left to doctors and scientists. It discusses how club regulation stemmed not only from the professionalising tactics of doctors and scientists, but was compounded by the 'hands-off' approach of politicians and professionals in fields such as law, philosophy and theology. The book outlines how theologians such as Ian Ramsey argued that 'transdisciplinary groups' were needed to meet the challenges posed by secular and increasingly pluralistic societies. It also examines their links with influential figures in the early history of American bioethics. The book centres on the work of the academic lawyer Ian Kennedy, who was the most high-profile advocate of the approach he explicitly termed 'bioethics'. It shows how Mary Warnock echoed governmental calls for external oversight. Many clinicians and researchers supported her calls for a 'monitoring body' to scrutinise in vitro fertilisation and embryo research. The growth of bioethics in British universities occurred in the 1980s and 1990s with the emergence of dedicated centres for bioethics. The book details how some senior doctors and bioethicists led calls for a politically-funded national bioethics committee during the 1980s. It details how recent debates on assisted dying highlight the authority and influence of British bioethicists.

A national ethics committee and bioethics during the 1990s

6 Consolidating the ‘ethics industry’: a national ethics committee and bioethics during the 1990s During the 1980s many of the individuals who were pivotal to the making of British bioethics sought to establish what the British Medical Journal identified as a ‘national bioethics committee’.1 Ian Kennedy, for one, regularly called for a politically funded committee based on the American President’s Commission, and his proposals were often endorsed by newspapers and other bioethicists. They were also endorsed by senior figures at the BMA, who believed a national

in The making of British bioethics
Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s

3 ‘Who’s for bioethics?’ Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s Bioethics ceased to be an ‘American trend’ during the 1980s, when growing numbers of British outsiders publicly demanded greater external involvement in the development of guidelines for medicine and biological science. Their arguments were certainly successful. By the beginning of the 1990s, when the Guardian described the growing ‘ethics industry’, supporters of this new approach were influential public figures. One of the earliest and most high profile of these supporters was the

in The making of British bioethics
The emergence of bioethics in British universities

5 ‘A service to the community as a whole’: the emergence of bioethics in British universities Bioethics made inroads into British universities during the 1980s, thanks largely to those individuals, groups and political changes that we have already encountered. During the late 1970s and early 1980s members of medical groups and public figures such as Ian Kennedy called for greater emphasis on medical ethics in student training. They also stressed the benefits of ‘non-medical’ input, claiming that it relieved clinicians from teaching responsibilities and would

in The making of British bioethics
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central to understanding why bioethics Conclusion 259 emerged as a recognised term and approach in Britain. While calls for external involvement were by no means new, they gained traction in the 1980s because they dovetailed with the Conservative government’s enthusiasm for oversight, transparency and public accountability. Yet bioethics was not simply the top-down result of political pressure, and owes as much to the agency of specific individuals and groups as it does to changing sociopolitical contexts. Figures such as Ian Kennedy and Mary Warnock endorsed

in The making of British bioethics
Mary Warnock, embryos and moral expertise

’s involvement with IVF highlights the British emergence of what Jasanoff calls ‘official bioethics’, in which philosophers, lawyers and others serve on ­government committees and assist in policymaking.1 Once appointed, Warnock became a vocal supporter of external oversight. In language reminiscent of Conservative politicians and Ian Kennedy, she regularly argued that the public were ‘entitled to know, and even to control’ professional practices.2 Like Kennedy, she also claimed that this would benefit researchers by safeguarding them from declining public and political trust

in The making of British bioethics
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bioethics. I close by detailing why bioethics continued to be seen as ‘an American trend’ throughout the 1970s, showing that while British theologians clarified the moral aspects of certain issues, they offered no challenge to club regulation and believed that the ‘final decisions remain medical ones’.67 Chapter 3 examines why this situation changed in the 1980s, when certain figures successfully promoted external involvement in the development of standards for medicine and the biological sciences. The chapter centres on the work of the academic lawyer Ian Kennedy, who

in The making of British bioethics
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reason was ‘Foot & Mouth’ (17 per cent) followed by ‘GM Food’ (15 per cent). MMR was fifth (12 per cent). Hargreaves, Lewis and Speers, Towards a Better Map , p. 30. 77 Clare Dyer, ‘NHS told to pay £10m to patients infected with hepatitis C’, British Medical Journal , 322:7289 (2001), 751. 78 Ian Kennedy, The Report of the Public Inquiry into Children’s Heart Surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary 1984–1995: Learning from Bristol (Cm 5207) (London: TSO, 2001); Michael Redfern, The Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry

in Vaccinating Britain