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.

Mary Warnock, embryos and moral expertise

. Many clinicians and researchers agreed that oversight would make their work ‘socially palatable’ and supported Warnock’s calls for a ‘monitoring body’ to scrutinise IVF and embryo research.3 Like Kennedy, then, Warnock both responded to and helped to generate the demand for bioethics, contributing to the public and political construction of the ‘audit society’. Despite the similarity in their arguments, Kennedy and Warnock promoted bioethics for different reasons. While Kennedy’s endorsement drew on his encounters with civil rights politics and American bioethicists

in The making of British bioethics
Vaccine scares, statesmanship and the media

research occupied a very low status in the hierarchy of priorities in the 1980s, under the Conservative government. 54 The pro-science Labour government came into power at a pivotal point in the relationship between politicians, scientists and the British public. During the Conservatives’ period in office, embryo research had become a possibility, and many people were excited about the new avenues for exploration that this might open. Scientists had assumed that the

in The politics of vaccination
Open Access (free)

groups. Teaching ethics, once a matter of professional etiquette, takes place on dedicated courses and in specialised departments that emphasise law and moral philosophy. A growing body of interdisciplinary journals considers topics that were once confined to the correspondence pages of the Lancet or the British Medical Journal. And public discussion of issues such as embryo research, cloning, genetic engineering or assisted dying are now as likely to be led by a lawyer or a philosopher as a doctor or a scientist. This new approach is known as ‘bioethics’: a neologism

in The making of British bioethics
Open Access (free)

Conclusion While she became associated with British bioethics following her engagement with IVF and embryo research in the 1980s, Mary Warnock is better known today for her views on euthanasia.1 Warnock first engaged with this issue in 1993, when she was appointed to a House of Lords Select Committee that investigated whether there were circumstances in which ‘assisted dying’ might be permissible, when a doctor would not be prosecuted for ending a patient’s life or helping them end their own lives. After deliberating for a year, Warnock and her fellow committee

in The making of British bioethics
A national ethics committee and bioethics during the 1990s

committee should be set up by Parliament’.16 Not content with endorsing a national committee in radio lectures and books, Kennedy also discussed his plans with politicians and the chairman of the Law Commission.17 But he was not the only advocate of a government-sponsored ethics committee by the mid 1980s. In a 1984 editorial on IVF and embryo research, the Mail on Sunday also urged the government to establish ‘a constant watchdog to involve ordinary people in the crucial decisions being made about our lives by men in white coats’.18 Like Kennedy, it argued that a

in The making of British bioethics
The role of minority engagement

challenges. Nonetheless, Blair was appealing to a commonsensical view of scientific research 246 Science and the politics of openness for the greater good recurrently invoked in public discourse – most recently, by journalists urging an extension of the fourteen-day limit on embryo research to ensure benefits from medical science (e.g. Harris, 2016). In this equation of science and the public interest, the public are represented primarily as beneficiaries. Yet, in principle, Blair’s intervention opened up the possibility of renegotiating how the public interest in

in Science and the politics of openness
Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s

(DHSS) prioritised the appointment of an ‘outside chair’ to a public inquiry into IVF and embryo research in 1982. It was also clear in the 1983 decision to select the businessman Sir Roy Griffiths as chair of an inquiry into NHS management. Reflecting the government’s enthusiasm for market-oriented reform, the other inquiry members were executives from British Telecom, United Biscuits and Television South West. Their report echoed Fowler’s desire for consumer influence when it claimed that: ‘Businessmen have a keen sense of how well they are looking after their

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

on the ethics of IVF and embryo research, and was one of the contributors to the Credo ­programme discussed in the previous chapter. 124 Harris, interview with the author (2011). For a brief account of the lectures, see Margaret Brazier, Anthony Dyson, John Harris and Mary Lobjoit, ‘Medical Ethics in Manchester’, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 13 (1987) pp.  150–2 (p. 151). The lectures were published as Anthony Dyson and John Harris (eds), Experiments on Embryos (London: Routledge, 1990). 125 Mary Lobjoit to Dr D. B. Newbould, 2 July 1987. CSEP archives. 126

in The making of British bioethics