After disbanding the [President Bush’s] Council on Bioethics, what kind of advisory body will Obama put together? — Elenor K. Schoen considers the question for the Catholic World Report.:
According to Bush’s executive order, the President’s Council was created to “advise the president on bioethical issues that may emerge as a consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology.” The New York Times reported that White House press officer Reid Cherlin said President Obama will appoint a new bioethics commission, one with a “new mandate” which “offers practical policy options.”
Judging from Obama’s preliminary policies, the future reincarnation of the bioethics council will no doubt be decidedly different. Whether the new bioethics commission will function mainly as a mouthpiece for the president, or as an independent advisory board, will be made more apparent in Obama’s choices in picking a chair and members, and in creating its mandate for serving under him during his first presidential term.
See also Joe Carter’s Lament for a Bioethics Council (First Things‘ “First Thoughts” June 18, 2009).