Bioethics Legal Research

This guide covers on bioethics including abortion and reproductive freedom, birth control, surrogacy, palliative care, euthanasia, in-vitro-fertilization, and intersexuality/transgenderism.


The field of bioethics is increasingly becoming a vital area of legal research.  As biotechnology advances, the law is often forced to respond to situations which are largely unanticipated.  Issues ranging from contraception and abortion to stem cell research and genetically-modified foods are covered under the umbrella term "bioethics".  This research guide is designed to give law students a beginning strategy for finding resources on these topics.  It is not designed to be exhaustive or comprehensive.  Please speak with a law librarian for further assistance.

What is bioethics?

The field of bioethics has addressed a broad swath of human inquiry, ranging from debates over the boundaries of life (e.g. abortion, euthanasia) to the allocation of scarce health care resources (e.g. organ donation, health care rationing) to the right to turn down medical care for religious or cultural reasons. Bioethicists often disagree among themselves over the precise limits of their discipline, debating whether the field should concern itself with the ethical evaluation of all questions involving biology and medicine, or only a subset of these questions.

Finding Journal Articles

In addition to searching the full-text databases for law review articles on WestLaw and Lexis, you may also want to do a search within a bibliographic database.  This will not include the full-text, but are much more comprehensive than the full-text databases.  You may search for journal articles here that you would miss otherwise.

Subject Guide