It was the Van Rensselaer Potter who use the term of Bioethics for the first time. Potter is the at first the scholar in cancer, but he was deeply interested in the matters of environmental pollution. He thought that because of the highly population growth and waste of raw materials, the environment of the earth and ecollogical system was in danger, so if you overlook the state as it is, Human is sure to be endangered species. He also thought that If we are to avoid this crisis, thinking place upon the knowledge of Biology, we should concentrate these various science included social science or cultural sciences, and we should construct "Wisdom as indicator of human action" in hurry. Then Potter called it "Bioethics". Namely, As to him, The Bioethics is the science of survival to overcome the extinction of the environment of the earth, and to protect the extinction of human.
In the encyclopedia of Bioethics, however, which was edited by Like who is the researcher of the Research institute of Kennedy, " 'Bioethics' is used as means that the bioethics is the new English bone as the compound word 'bio' which means life, with 'ethikos' which means mores or ethics. this represent the systemical study which interdisciplinarily purpose the study concerning the atitude of researcher of bio-science or medical persons concerned." So at the present time, it means diffrent from the potter's original thinking.
By the way, How does the word of Bioethics is used as the word which means the medical ethical study?
As you have recognize, though the Bioethics is thought that it is only the discussion concerning the forefront medical treatment such as transplantation, cloning, in-vitro fertilization, and so on. this word should be grasp as the word that means main study subject concerning the daily medical ezamination, asking treatment, matter of informing the deseases, explanation of medicine, or the matter of environment which concern the life of human.
Most doctors have been handed a story that a doctor should respect the Hippocratic swear which is traced from the period of Greece, and the atitude which a doctor have to do is that a doctor devotedly give the medical treatment which he believe it the best, down from generation to generation for the long time. As a result of that, when the patient go a hospital, that patients do not know the contents of medical treatment which he is about to be given, he do not know the medicine which he got, or he do not know secodary effects which he have been being treated came to increase. Then this direction changed in 1960s.
In 1960s, in United States of America, there is calm cuba crisis. So what we call it is stable time of America. In that time, there is many racial discrimination against the blacks. For example, in the bus, in that time, the whites are allowed to sit down the foreside, but on the other hand, the blacks force to sit down the backside. the movement against the racial discrimination have developed the civil rights movement. The current of that movement effected to consumers' movement in 1970s after that, and feminism movement, then these movement cut its way into the medicine which had not reflected the patients' thiking or intention. To put it another, in order to develop the study of Bioethics, these movement bone from the political and social background effected storongly to the study of Bioethics.
By placing on the development of these movement in the development of Bioethics, it is forgeted that at first "Bioethics" is used as environmental ethcal issue by Potter. But now the institute of Kennedy pumped out the intention of Potter by re-estimating the achievements of Potter. So now the Bioethics come to compose the more holistic and more comprehensive study system.