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About Biopolitics, Parties, Pundits & Human Biotechnology


Policy decisions about human biotechnologies have typically been debated among elite commissions and experts. But controversy is increasingly spilling over into mainstream news media and political debates.

This trend has been most notable in the United States, with the emergence of human embryonic stem cell research as a political issue. Stem cell debates at the policy level have made this discussion far more visible to the public.

The Bush Administration's restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research elevated the issue to the front pages of newspapers. Shortly after its announcement in 2001, partisan battle lines were drawn in ways that mirror the abortion rights divide.

Republicans hoped that opposition to research that destroys embryos would increase support among their party's religious conservative base. Democrats countered by assembling a coalition of patient advocates, biomedical researchers, and biotechnology entrepreneurs and appealed to moderate swing voters and Republicans who they believed would be swayed by promises of cures.

There were some notable exceptions to this partisan line-up. Some conservatives support embryonic stem cell research; some liberals and progressives who support the research in principle criticize aspects of its conduct and regulation. Unfortunately, the polarized debate has frequently distorted facts while obscuring a range of important social issues unrelated to the moral status of embryos.



Banning Abortion for Down Syndrome: Legal or Ethical Justification? by Bonnie SteinbockHastings Center Bioethics ForumAugust 26th, 2015Instead of passing an unenforceable and unconstitutional law, Ohio should devote its time to ensuring that all people with disabilities, Down syndrome or otherwise, get the resources and services they need.
Court: $50M verdict in Seattle-area ‘wrongful birth’ doesn't shock the conscienceby Levi PulkkinenSeattlePIAugust 26th, 2015Washington three-judge panel affirms multi-million jury award to couple who sued their fertility clinic for failing to effectively screen for their new child's chromosomal abnormality.
Alphabet/Google Isn’t Evil but Genetically Modifying Mosquitos Might Beby Mic WrightThe Next WebAugust 25th, 2015Recent biotech hype about using gene drive to reduce global malaria is best understood as a new chapter in humanity's historically poor record of forcibly changing ecosystems.
[Video] Is It Worth Your Time and Money to Freeze Your Eggs?by StaffBroadly [VICE]August 24th, 2015Broadly investigates the commercial promises of Egg Banxx "freezing parties" while following a patient through the process of egg retrieval, featuring Marcy Darnovksy.
What Are You Doing with My DNA? by Diana KwonScientific AmericanAugust 21st, 2015The play “Informed Consent” explores deep ethical questions in genetics research.
Inside Illumina’s Plans to Lure Consumers with an App Store for Genomes by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 19th, 2015The head of the largest gene-sequencing company envisions holding your DNA, then selling it to you little by little.
B.C. Company to Launch DNA Testing Service by Pamela FayermanVancouver SunAugust 19th, 2015Scrutiny by government and College of Physicians and Surgeons being considered.
‘Scientific Ambitions Behind DNA Profiling Bill’by Vidya VenkatThe HinduAugust 16th, 2015Legal researcher Usha Ramanathan speaks about the the modified draft Bill which continues to raise several critical concerns relating to privacy, ethical usage of DNA samples and DNA database.
Fertility Clinics Destroy Embryos All the Time. Why Aren’t Conservatives After Them?by Margo KaplanThe Washington PostIn light of assault on Planned Parenthood, conservatives attack vulnerable populations who seek abortions rather than more privileged counterparts who use assisted reproduction.
Surgeons Smash Records with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplantsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 12th, 2015A biotech company is genetically engineering pigs so that their organs might work in people.
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