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About the States' Policies & Human Biotechnology

Individual states are filling the regulatory void created by the federal government’s failure to provide comprehensive legislation governing human biotechnologies. This is creating an often inconsistent policy patchwork.


State action is evident in a number of areas, including embryonic stem cell, cloning, egg retrieval, and assisted reproduction. More than a dozen states have laws banning reproductive cloning, about half of which also prohibit cloning for stem cell research. Dozens of similar bills are introduced in other states each year.

In response to President Bush’s restrictions on the federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, several states initiated their own funded research programs. California led the way in 2004 with Proposition 71, which set aside $3 billion of public funds for stem cell research over ten years.

President signs Senate bill that protects eugenics victimsby Richard CraverWinston-Salem JournalOctober 7th, 2016Passed in a bipartisan effort, state restitution payments will not decrease or eliminate federal benefits for class members who were forcibly sterilized.
DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spitby Lauren KirchnerProPublicaSeptember 12th, 2016Private police DNA databases are multiplying, and are subject to no state or federal regulation or oversight.
Silicon Valley was going to disrupt capitalism. Now it’s just enhancing itby Evgeny MorozovThe GuardianAugust 6th, 2016Tech giants thought they would beat old businesses but the guardians of capitalism are using data troves to become more, not less, resilient.
Stem Cell Therapies Are Still Mostly Theory, Yet Clinics Are Flourishingby Gina KolataThe New York TimesJuly 28th, 2016570 clinics in the United States are offering untested stem cell therapies.
Editas signs genome-edited stem cell pact with GSK, Biogen biotech partnerby Ben AdamsFierce BiotechJuly 28th, 2016Editas Medicine has a hand in a number of gene therapy initiatives.
Congress wrestles with providing fertility benefits for injured veterans and servicemembersby Karoun DemirjianThe Washington PostJuly 27th, 2016Senator Patty Murray believes the ban on IVF and other fertility options is outdated.
Guardian ad litem bills gay couple $100K for report questioning surrogacyby Debra Cassens WeissABA Journal Daily NewsJuly 27th, 2016The judge was extremely critical of surrogacy and his remarks have since been called “unduly harsh” by another judge.
We’re on the cusp of a gene editing revolution, are we ready?by EditorialNew ScientistJuly 27th, 2016Fast-moving genetic technologies may be on the road to outpacing public acceptance and debate.
Can genes really predict how well you’ll do academically?by Daphne MartschenkoThe ConversationJuly 26th, 2016Genetic intelligence research has eugenic histories and may minimize the role of social and political environments.
Human Enhancement: The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Striving for Perfectionby David MasciPew Research CenterJuly 26th, 2016Genetic technologies raise questions ranging from the technical to the social.
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