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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 August 2002

David C. Thomasma, Ph.D., was the Fr. Michael I. English Chair of Medical Ethics and Professor in the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy at Loyola University of Chicago, Maywood, Illinois
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Can it be already 30 years since the first days of modern, secular bioethics? As those of us in the field for almost all these years arrive near the end of our careers, we find that time has truly flown and the challenges have not diminished one bit. If anything, they are even greater than in the early years. Along the way it was tempting to think that the broad consensus reached on research ethics, on the four principles, on the need for consent in clinical ethics, and then on rights in reproduction and dying, would paint the picture rather well. Only fill-in would be needed by the apprentices coming afterward. Yet time and again new biological and medical discoveries continued to challenge that painting. A new canvas had to be hung. Among the major newer developments were the challenges of healthcare reform, genetics, antifoundationalism, the certification of ethics consultants, and now, the internationalization of bioethics, its relationship to the environment and world politics, and biotechnology.

© 2002 Cambridge University Press