Public Policy


Public policy includes the action (or in some cases the inaction) of local, state, and national government as it relates to bioethical issues. Examples include regulations placed on medical facilities or medical professionals, conscience issues for healthcare professionals, restrictions placed on certain medical treatments or procedures, the legality of certain types of research (e.g., cloning, embryonic stem cell research, genetic interventions, animal-human hybrids, etc.), and government health insurance programs. Additional issues covered in this section include theories of public engagement; international governance and regulation; the legal, judicial, and regulatory dimensions of policy setting for medicine, science, and technology development and use; as well as analysis of societal trends regarding public sentiment.


  • Edward Grant, “Cruzan at 25, Schiavo at 10: Legal Fictions It Is Time to Outgrow.”
  • Kirtley, Michelle, “A Christian Framework for Engaging in Science Policy.”
  • C. Ben Mitchell, “Scientists, Ethics, and Public Engagement.”
  • Video resources from our Healthcare Ethics Council Webinar on “Ebola Ethics: Bedside and Boardroom Considerations.”


Public Policy (General)

  • Ajana, Btihaj. Governing Through Biometrics: The Biopolitics of Identity. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • Al-Rodhan, Nayef R. F. The Politics of Emerging Strategic Technologies: Implications for Geopolitics, Human Enhancement and Human Destiny. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
  • Battle-Fisher, Michele. Application of Systems Thinking to Health Policy & Public Health Ethics: Public Health and Private Illness. NY: Springer, 2015.
  • Beever, Jonathan and Nicolae C. Morar. Perspectives in Bioethics, Science, and Public Policy. Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2013.
  • Black, Amy E. From Inspiration to Legislation: How an Idea Becomes a Bill. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2007.
  • Blank, Robert H. Intervention in the Brain: Politics, Policy, and Ethics. Basic Bioethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.
  • Brown, Mark B. Science in Democracy: Expertise, Institutions, and Representation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.
  • Coggon, John. What Makes Health Public? A Critical Evaluation of Moral, Legal, and Political Claims in Public Health. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Cohen, Glenn and Holly Fernandez Lynch. Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014.
  • Colson, Charles, and Nigel S. Cameron, eds. Human Dignity in the Biotech Century: A Christian Vision for Public Policy. Downers Grove: IVP, 2004.
  • Dawson, Angus, ed. Public Health Ethics: Key Concepts and Issues in Policy and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Eiseman, Elisa. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission: Contributing to Public Policy. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2004.
  • Forsythe, Clark. Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square. Downers Grove: IVP, 2009.
  • Galston, Arthur W, and Emily G. Shurr. New Dimensions in Bioethics: Science, Ethics, and the Formation of Public Policy. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic, 2001.
  • Gerston, Larry N. Public Policy Making: Process and Principles. 3rd ed. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2010.
  • Hoffman, Sharona. Electronic Health Records and Medical Big Data: Law and Policy. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  • Hudson, Robert B. The New Politics of Old Age Policy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.
  • Jennings, Bruce. A Grassroots Movement in Bioethics: An Article from the Hastings Center Report. Garrison, NY: Hastings Center, 1988.
  • Kaebnick, Gregory E. and Thomas H. Murray, eds. Synthetic Biology and Morality: Artificial Life and the Bounds of Nature. Basic Bioethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.
  • King, Nancy M. P. and Michael J. Hyde. Bioethics, Public Moral Argument, and Social Responsibility. Routledge Annals of Bioethics. NY: Routledge, 2014.
  • Kottow, Miguel. From Justice to Protection: A Proposal for Public Health Bioethics. NY: Springer, 2012
  • Lewis, Marcia, Carol Tamparo, and Brenda Tatro. Medical Law, Ethics & Bioethics for the Health Professions. 7th ed. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company, 2012.
  • Macpherson, Cheryl C, ed. Bioethical Insights into Values and Policy: Climate Change and Health. NY: Springer, 2016.
  • May, Thomas. Bioethics in a Liberal Society: The Political Framework of Bioethics Decision Making. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
  • Menikoff, Jerry. Law and Bioethics: An Introduction. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2002.
  • Monsma, Steve. Healing for a Broken World: Christian Perspectives on Public Policy. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.
  • Moreno, Jonathan D., and Sam Berger, eds. Progress in Bioethics: Science, Policy, and Politics. Basic Bioethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.
  • Pedraza, Jorge Morales. Ethical Policy and Principles in Tissue Banking: International Experience and Implementation. NY: Springer, 2016.
  • Peterson, Alan. The Politics of Bioethics. NY: Routledge, 2011.
  • Redman, Barbara K. Research Misconduct Policy in Biomedicine: Beyond the Bad-Apple Approach. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.
  • Schermer, M. and Pinxten, Wim, ed. Ethics, Health Policy, and (Anti-) Aging: Mixed Blessings. NY: Springer, 2013.
  • Shannon, Thomas A, ed. Genetics: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
  • Sider, Ronald J, and Diane Knippers, eds. Toward an Evangelical Public Policy: Political Strategies for the Health of the Nation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005.
  • Silvers, Anita, David Wasserman, and Mary B. Mahowald. Disability, Difference, Discrimination: Perspectives on Justice in Bioethics and Public Policy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.
  • Smith, George P. II. Law and Bioethics: Intersections Along the Mortal Coil. NY: Routledge, 2012.
  • Smith, Janet E. The Right to Privacy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008.
  • Stapleton, Patricia, and Andrew Byers. Biopolitics and Utopia: An Interdisciplinary Reader. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Stranger, Mark, and Jane Kaye. Principles and Practice in Biobank Governance. Ashgate, 2009.
  • Teays, Wanda. Global Bioethics and Human Rights: Contemporary Issues. Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014

Out of Print

  • Barke, Richard. Science, Technology, and Public Policy. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 1986.
  • Lammers, William W. Public Policy and the Aging. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 1983.
  • Simon, Arthur. Christian Faith and Public Policy: No Grounds for Divorce. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987.
  • Watt, Helen, ed. Cooperation, Complicity, and Conscience: Problems in Healthcare, Science, Law, and Public Policy. London: Linacre Centre, 2005.
  • Williams, John R. Christian Perspectives on Bioethics, Religious Values and Public Policy in a Pluralistic Society. Toronto: Novalis, 1997.

Biotechnology & Public Policy

See Related Materials in the Biotechnology Bibliography.

  • Briggle, Adam, ed. A Rich Bioethics: Public Policy, Biotechnology, and the Kass Council. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010.

End-of-life & Public Policy

See Related Materials in the End-of-Life Bibliography.

  • Cohen-Almagor, Raphael. Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The Policy and Practice of Mercy Killing. NY: Springer, 2013.
  • Keown, John. Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Argument against Legalisation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Smith, Stephen W. End-of-Life Decisions in Medical Care: Principles and Policies for Regulating the Dying Process. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Sterckx, Sigrid, Kasper Raus, and Freddy Mortier, eds. Continuous Sedation at the End of Life: Ethical, Clinical, and Legal Perspectives. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Genetics & Public Policy

See Related Materials in the Genetic Ethics Bibliography.

  • Andrews, Lori, Maxwell J. Mehlman, and Mark A. Rothstein. Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy. 4th ed. St. Paul, MN: West Law School, 2015.
  • Bayefsky, Michelle, and Bruce Jennings. Regulating Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis in the United States: The Limits of Unlimited Selection. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Blackford, Russell. Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies. Basic Bioethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.
  • Häyry, Matti, Ruth Chadwick, Vilhjálmur Árnason, and Gardar Árnason. The Ethics and Governance of Human Genetic Databases: European Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • Knowles, Lori P. and Gregory K. Kaebnick, eds. Reprogenetics: Law, Policy and Ethical Issues. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2007.
  • Laurie, Graeme. Genetic Privacy: A Challenge to Medico-legal Norms. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Parthasarathy, Shobita. Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.
  • Taylor, Mark. G. Genetic Data and the Law: A Critical Perspective on Privacy Protection. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Weir, Robert F., Robert S. Olick, and Jeffrey C. Murray. The Stored Tissue Issue: Biomedical Research, Ethics, and Law in the Era of Genomic Medicine. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Widdows, Heather and Caroline Mullen, eds. The Governance of Genetic Information: Who Decides? New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Out of Print

  • Annas, George J., and Sherman Elias, eds. Gene Mapping: Using Laws and Ethics as Guides. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Rothstein, Mark A., ed. Genetic Secrets: Protecting Privacy and Confidentiality in the Genetic Era. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

Healthcare & Public Policy

See Related Materials in the Healthcare Bibliography.

  • Barr, Donald A. Introduction to U.S. Health Policy: The Organization, Financing, and Delivery of Health Care in America. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.
  • Furrow, Barry R., Thomas L. Greaney, Sandra H. Johnson, Timothy S. Jost, and Robert L. Schwartz. Bioethics: Health Care Law and Ethics. 7th ed. St. Paul, MN: West Group, 2013.

Reproductive Ethics & Public Policy

See Related Materials in the Reproductive Ethics Bibliography.

  • Crockin, Susan L., and Howard W. Jones, Jr. Legal Conceptions: The Evolving Law and Policy of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
  • Knowles, Lori P., and Gregory E. Kaebnick, eds. Reprogenetics: Law, Policy, and Ethical Issues. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
  • Richards, Martin, Guido Pennings, and John B. Appleby, eds. Reproductive Donation: Practice, Policy, and Bioethics. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Stem Cell Research & Public Policy

See Related Materials in the Stem Cell Research Bibliography.

  • Cohen, Cynthia B. Renewing the Stuff of Life: Stem Cells, Ethics, and Public Policy. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Holland, Suzanne; Karen Lebacqz, and Laurie Zoloth, eds. The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Basic Bioethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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