Children of Choice: Freedom and the New Reproductive by John A. Robertson

By John A. Robertson

Cloning, genetic screening, embryo freezing, in vitro fertilization, Norplant, RU486--these are the applied sciences revolutionizing our reproductive panorama. in the course of the lens of procreative liberty--meaning either the liberty to come to a decision even if to have youngsters in addition to the liberty to manage one's reproductive capacity--John Robertson, a number one felony bioethicist, analyzes the moral, felony, and social controversies surrounding each one significant know-how and opens up a large number of interesting questions: Do frozen embryos have the perfect to be born? may still mom and dad be allowed to choose offspring characteristics? may possibly a central authority strength welfare recipients to take contraceptives? Robertson's arguments learn the extensive diversity of results of every reproductive expertise and provides a well timed, multifaceted research of the competing pursuits at stake for sufferers, undefined, medical professionals, policymakers, attorneys, and ethicists.

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It also situates these techniques in ongoing debates over adoption and the breakdown of the family. The next two chapters switch from assisted reproduction to issues in control of the quality or characteristics of offspring—a major source of reproductive innovation and controversy. Chapter 7 focuses on control- 20 CHAPTER 1 ling offspring quality through genetic screening and techniques of genetic manipulation. Despite some potential dangers, these techniques clearly fall within prevailing conceptions of procreative choice.

RESOLVING DISPUTES OVER PROCREATIVE LIBERTY As this brief survey shows, new reproductive technologies will generate ethical and legal disputes about the meaning and scope of procreative liberty. Because procreative liberty has never been fully elaborated, the importance of procreative choice in many novel settings will be a question of first impression. The ultimate decision reached will reflect the value assigned to the procreative interest at stake in light of the effects causing concern. In an important sense, the meaning of procreative liberty will be created or constituted for society in the process of resolving such disputes.

10 In the United States, state-imposed sterilization of “mental defectives,” sanctioned in 1927 by the United States Supreme Court in Buck v. 12 It is no surprise that current proposals for compulsory use of contraceptives such as Norplant are viewed with great suspicion. TWO TYPES OF PROCREATIVE LIBERTY To see how values of procreative liberty affect the ethical and public policy evaluation of new reproductive technologies, we must determine whether the interests that underlie the high value accorded procreative liberty are implicated in their use.

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