Law and bioethics

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide a knowledge of the Italian legislation on bioethical issues, and to investigate, also through comparative analysis, the legal and ethical problems and related to them, in order develop an autonomous critical judgement. The course will deal with topics such as medically assisted procreation, genetic engineering, voluntary interruption of pregnancy, interruption of medical treatment, medical ethics, and euthanasia.
Expected learning outcomes
- Knowledge and understanding of the Italian law on bioethical issues and the related ethical and legal problems
- Ability to apply the tools of bio-legal analysis to new legislations, new technical innovations and case law
- Critical judgment acquired through practical tests and written reports
- Development of a communication skill and excellent mastery of the concepts related to bio-legal problems, acquired through discussions and group work
- Independent learning acquired by managing the ethical and legal tools related to bioethical issues
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Early life issues (medically assisted procreation, surrogacy, voluntary interruption of pregnancy, stem cells, cloning), medical ethics (medical liability, informed consent, gene-editing and genetic engineering), end-of-life issues (transplants, treatment interruption, euthanasia, assisted suicide).
Prerequisites for admission
There are no specific prerequisites
Teaching methods
Lectures, group exercises, reports on innovative topics.
Teaching Resources
Attending students
Bibliography available online (, that will be indicated at the first lesson.
Not-Attending students
(1) F. Poggi (a cura di), Diritto e bioetica, Carocci, Roma, 2013.
(2) G. Cricenti, I giudici e la bioetica, Carocci, Roma, 2017.
(3) A. Santosuosso, Diritto, scienza, nuove tecnologie, CEDAM, Milano, II ed., 2016, limitatamente ai capitoli 3, 4, 5, 6 e 7.
(4) Costituisce parte integrante del programma d'esame lo studio approfondito dei seguenti testi normativi: (i) Legge 22 maggio 1978, n. 194, "Norme per la tutela sociale della maternità e sull'interruzione volontaria della gravidanza"; (ii) Legge 1 aprile 1999, n. 91, "Disposizioni in materia di prelievi e di trapianti di organi e di tessuti"; (iii) Legge 19 febbraio 2004, n. 40, "Norme in materia di procreazione medicalmente assistita".
Assessment methods and Criteria
Attending students: oral exam or (optionally) two intermediate tests consisting of a group work and written report, plus a final exam consisting of a written test with closed and open answers.
Attending students: oral exam
Evaluation criteria: exposition quality; ability to organize knowledge; ability to manage the concepts and methods bioethical discussions and to apply them to new legal problems and technological innovations.
IUS/20 - PHILOSOPHY OF LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Poggi Francesca
Educational website(s)