Creation of The President's Council on Bioethics
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the
laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Establishment.
There is established the President's Council on Bioethics (the "Council").
Section 2. Mission.
a. The Council shall advise the President on bioethical issues that may
emerge as a consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology.
In connection with its advisory role, the mission of the Council includes
the following functions:
1. to undertake fundamental inquiry into the human and moral significance
of developments in biomedical and behavioral science and technology;
2. to explore specific ethical and policy questions related to these developments;
3. to provide a forum for a national discussion of bioethical issues;
4. to facilitate a greater understanding of bioethical issues; and
5. to explore possibilities for useful international collaboration on
b. In support of its mission, the Council may study ethical issues connected
with specific technological activities, such as embryo and stem cell research,
assisted reproduction, cloning, uses of knowledge and techniques derived
from human genetics or the neurosciences, and end of life issues. The
Council may also study broader ethical and social issues not tied to a
specific technology, such as questions regarding the protection of human
subjects in research, the appropriate uses of biomedical technologies,
the moral implications of biomedical technologies, and the consequences
of limiting scientific research.
c. The Council shall strive to develop a deep and comprehensive understanding
of the issues that it considers. In pursuit of this goal, the Council
shall be guided by the need to articulate fully the complex and often
competing moral positions on any given issue, rather than by an overriding
concern to find consensus. The Council may therefore choose to proceed
by offering a variety of views on a particular issue, rather than attempt
to reach a single consensus position.
d. The Council shall not be responsible for the review and approval of
specific projects or for devising and overseeing regulations for specific
e. In support of its mission, the Council may accept suggestions of issues
for consideration from the heads of other Government agencies and other
sources, as it deems appropriate.
f. In establishing priorities for its activities, the Council shall consider
the urgency and gravity of the particular issue; the need for policy guidance
and public education on the particular issue; the connection of the bioethical
issue to the goal of Federal advancement of science and technology; and
the existence of another entity available to deliberate appropriately
on the bioethical issue.
Section 3. Membership.
a. The Council shall be composed of not more than 18 members appointed
by the President from among individuals who are not officers or employees
of the Federal Government. The Council shall include members drawn from
the fields of science and medicine, law and government, philosophy and
theology, and other areas of the humanities and social sciences.
b. The President shall designate a member of the Council to serve as Chairperson.
c. The term of office of a member shall be 2 years, and members shall
be eligible for reappointment. Members may continue to serve after the
expiration of their terms until the President appoints a successor. A
member appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve only for the unexpired
term of such vacancy.
Section 4. Administration.
a. Upon the request of the Chairperson, the heads of executive departments
and agencies shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide the Council
with information it needs for purposes of carrying out its functions.
b. The Council may conduct inquiries, hold hearings, and establish subcommittees,
c. The Council is authorized to conduct analyses and develop reports or
d. Members of the Council may be compensated to the extent permitted by
Federal law for their work on the Council. Members may be allowed travel
expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by
law for persons serving intermittently in Government service (5 U.S.C.
5701-5707), to the extent funds are available.
e. To the extent permitted by law, and subject to the availability of
appropriations, the Department of Health and Human Services shall provide
the Council with administrative support and with such funds as may be
necessary for the performance of the Council's functions.
f. The Council shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director, who
shall be appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation
with the Chairperson. To the extent permitted by law, office space, analytical
support, and additional staff support for the Council shall be provided
by the Department of Health and Human Services or other executive branch
departments and agencies as directed by the President.
Section 5. General Provisions.
a. Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C.
App.), may apply to the Council, any functions of the President under
that Act, except that of reporting to the Congress, shall be performed
by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in accordance with the guidelines
that have been issued by the Administrator of General Services.
b. The Council shall terminate 2 years from the date of this order unless
extended by the President prior to that date.
c. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the
executive branch and it is not intended to create any right, benefit,
trust, or responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law
or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers,
or any person.
George W. Bush
The White House, November 28, 2001.
Federal Register date: November 30, 2001.
Federal Register page: 66 FR 59851.