Bioethics, law and European integration
Bioethics is always described as implying a multidisciplinary and pluralistic approach of the
issues encompassed. No doubt that the law and lawyers have deeply contributed to its origin
and present development. However, conversely to the United States, it seems that bioethics
has opened some new perspectives to the law in Europe. First, it forced the law to move out
of its own frontiers and to apply its reasoning to life sciences issues with the consequence
that some consider that the legal norms are used to legitimate unlawful practices while others
believe legal norms have imposed binding conditions to the free development of science and
technology. Second, Europe is the only region of the world where biomedical techniques are
subjected to legal and sometimes binding harmonisation. In some way, we may conclude that
the role played by the law in the elaboration of European bioethics is just an example of the
important role of the law in the European integration.
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