Activism and bioethics: taking a stand on things that matter

Wendy A. Rogers, Jackie Leach Scully

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/opinionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The question of whether activism should be overtly embraced as part of the bioethicist's role deserves serious consideration. Like others, we agree that bioethics is inescapably partisan; bioethical deliberation is based on trying to determine morally relevant features of situations and morally justifiable outcomes. Where disagreement arises is over the degree to which bioethicists should be activists. Meyers argues for a somewhat circumscribed role, limited to action on ethically concerning institutional matters, for those who are financially independent of the institutions. We take a broader view, arguing that some issues are so morally egregious that there is a duty to take a stand against them, even if the prospects of success are dim. There is a need for further debate, sharing of experiences, and analysis of case studies, to support bioethicists who take a stand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-33
Number of pages2
JournalHastings Center Report
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • activism
  • bioethics
  • Ethics
  • moral duties


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