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Society's Choices: Social and Ethical Decision Making in Biomedicine
after they had been named in the summer of 1979, the commission could not begin its work because no funds had been requested (or appropriated) for it in the FY 1980 budget. When pressed to "reprogram" monies from other activities, the leadership of DHEW eventually complied, but only after deciding that it would end operation of its Ethics Advisory Board (EAB) on the grounds that the President's Commission made the EAB redundant (see below) and then transferred the funds originally allocated for the EAB to the President's Commission (1983d).
The commission's statute included a "sunset" clause with a termination date of December 31, 1982. In 1982, Senator Kennedy proposed that the date be changed to 1984, but a provision of the December 1982 Continuing Resolution (P.L. 97-377) extended the commission only through March 31, 1983.
During its 39 months, the President's Commission issued 17 volumes, consisting of 10 reports (several with one or more appendix volumes), the proceedings of a workshop on policies and procedures for responding to reports of scientific misconduct ( Whistleblowing in Biomedical Research, 1981), and a loose-leaf book (The Official IRB Guidebook). Five of the reports dealt with health care issues; four of these responded to the commission's statutory mandate: Defining Death (1981), Making Health Care Decisions (1982a), Screening and Counseling for Genetic Conditions (1983b), and Securing Access to Health Care (1983c). The fifth, Deciding to Forego Life-Sustaining Treatment (1983a), grew out of the studies on determining death, informed consent, and access to care. Four reports dealt with biomedical and behavioral research, including the subject of human genetic engineering (at the request of the president's science advisor) and compensation for research injuries (at the request of the EAB, shortly before its demise). Finally, on March 31, 1983, as it closed its doors, the commission issued a last report, entitled Summing Up, that provided an overview of its work and that addressed the one topic (privacy and confidentiality) in its original statutory mandate that had not been the subject of a separate report (1983d).
Biomedical Ethics Board
The third major congressionally chartered bioethics effort was less fortunate than its predecessors. Following 1982 hearings on the President's Commission report, Splicing Life (1982b), then-Representative Albert Gore, Jr., proposed the establishment of a presidential commission on genetic engineering, a proposal that was later broadened to include other bioethical issues. Because of differences in viewpoint between Senate conservatives and House liberals over what would result if another presidential bioethics panel were authorized (Cook-Deegan, 1994), Congress in 1985 chose to locate the successor within the legislative branch. A Biomedical