The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a strong and longstanding interest in the field of bioethics and periodically publishes policy statements pertaining to specific ethical questions relevant to pediatrics. The subjects addressed cover a wide range of topics, from parental refusal of immunization to the care of critically ill children. These policies are authored initially by the AAP's Committee on Bioethics and undergo extensive internal review by other committees prior to publication.

This article is the first in a series of three intended to familiarize readers with many of the AAP policies currently in place that address issues in bioethics. In this series, 16 policies published by the AAP are summarized, each followed by a brief commentary. The commentaries are intended to address, at least on a cursory level, some of the ethical principles underlying the policies. Some briefly point out possible alternative viewpoints.

The policies referenced in this...

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