Ethics in Medicine

  • Kate F. WalkerEmail author
  • James G. Thornton


Good law should follow ethical principles, and in day to day life we usually act ethically if we follow the law. But in complex dilemmas the ethically correct action cannot automatically be determined by reference to current law. Here philosophical thinking is necessary but is hard, there is often insufficient time to do it properly, and individuals easily fall prey to self-interest and self-deception.

Medical practice should be guided by the ethical principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice.

The ethics around termination of pregnancy remain as controversial today as they did in 1967 when the Abortion Act was enacted in English Law but we explore them in this article.


Ethics Ethical principals Beneficence Non-maleficence Justice Autonomy Termination ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Child Health, Obstetrics and GynaecologyThe University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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