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Keywords:

  • feminism;
  • bioethics;
  • moral episteomology;
  • narrative

The primary contribution of feminism to bioethics is to note how imbalances of power in the sex-gender system play themselves out in medical practice and in the theory surrounding that practice. I trace the ten-year history of feminist approaches to bioethics, arguing that while feminists have usefully critiqued medicine's biases in favor of men, they have unmasked sexism primarily in the arena of women's reproductive health, leaving other areas of health care sorely in need of feminist scrutiny. I note as well that feminist bioethicists have contributed very little to bioethical theory. In the second part of the paper I suggest two future directions for feminist bioethics. The first is to expand its critique of gender bias beyond reproductive medicine, devoting attention to the same issues raised by advances in biomedical technology as are taken up by mainstream bioethicists. The second is to develop bioethical theory that is more responsive than are mainstream moral theories to the social practices that subordinate women and minority groups.