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date: 26 February 2024



  • Larry W. FosterLarry W. FosterSchool of Social Work, Cleveland State University


Bioethics and biomedical ethics are defined. Common bioethical concepts, exemplary moral values, fundamental ethical principles, general ethical theories, and approaches to moral reasoning are reviewed. The scope of topics and issues, the nature of practice situations in bioethics, and social work roles on organizational bodies that monitor and respond to bioethical issues are summarized, as are trends in bioethics. Practice contexts, from beginning to end of life, are highlighted with biopsychosocial facts, ethical questions and issues, and implications for social work—a profession uniquely positioned in giving bioethics a social context.


  • Clinical and Direct Practice
  • Ethics and Values
  • Mental and Behavioral Health
  • Policy and Advocacy
  • Religion and Spirituality

Updated in this version

Bibliography and citations updated. Clarification on language and practices of bioethics. Updated Sections ‘Future Trends,’ ‘Reproduction,’ ‘Adolescent Health,’ ‘Transplantation,’ ‘End of Life,’ ‘Physician Assisted Suicide,’ and ‘Health Disparities.’

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