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The object of this document is to report on a movement of unprecedented amplitude (in France and possibly worldwide) for collective reflection on major contemporary bioethics issues. The process took the form of a public debate, held in 2018, “The Bioethics Estates General”, as provided for by French law. It was a demonstration of France's particular commitment to ethical scrutiny and to democracy in the pursuit of health.
The pace of scientific development has quickened in recent years, prompting the emergence of new challenges, raising not only complex specific issues but also ethical issues relating to the life sciences and health. Enquiring into the workings and applications of research and, more generally, into the engineering of these applications, has evolved into a major ethical challenge, as we enter into a new world which must be formulated before it can be constructed. Raising awareness on the implications of scientific research and biomedical innovation, on their uses and possible consequences, is at the very heart of what is known as bioethical reflection and the chosen object of the 2018 Bioethics Estates General.