Mount Holyoke College

Biology 321, Spring 2002*
Cloning, Stem Cells and Bioethics

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On November 28, 2001, President Bush gave Executive Order 13237, establishing The President's Council on Bioethics. The Order begins:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Establishment. There is established the President's Council on Bioethics (the "Council").
Section 2. Mission.
a.The Council shall advise the President on bioethical issues that may emerge as a consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology. In connection with its advisory role, the mission of the Council includes the following functions:
1.to undertake fundamental inquiry into the human and moral significance of developments in biomedical and behavioral science and technology;
2.to explore specific ethical and policy questions related to these developments;
3.to provide a forum for a national discussion of bioethical issues;
4.to facilitate a greater understanding of bioethical issues; and
5.to explore possibilities for useful international collaboration on bioethical issues.

The 18 members of The Council were named on January 16, 2002, just before this semester began. The 12 members of the Bio 321 class on Cloning each took on the persona of one of the Council members, reading the transcripts of the meetings of the Council, which are available on the website www.bioethics.gov. On April 30, 2002, these students represented the positions of their council members in a mock debate in front of Biology 200: How Organisms Develop (second-semester introductory biology, 130 first-year students).

For more on this event, you may read

List of Council members, and the students who played them

Survey prepared by Bio 321 and given to the intro students before the panel discussion

Fink, R.D. 2002. Cloning, stem cells, and the current national debate: Incorporating ethics in a large introductory biology course. Cell Biology Education 1(4):132-144.

The website for the President's Council on Bioethics

* The members of Bio 321 in Spring 2003 did a similar event, presenting a panel discussion to the members of Bio 200. To see the students and who they played from this iteration of the mock debate, click HERE.