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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.

Advances in DNA Testing Could Put Thousands of Texas Cases in Legal Limboby Meagan FlynnHouston PressOctober 5th, 2015Problems with prior mixed DNA testing analysis and statistical claims cast doubt on some DNA-based criminal convictions in the state of Texas.
Ohio Abortion Bill Stokes Old Tensions between Disability and Abortion Rights Advocatesby Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2015A round-up of recent articles and commentaries about Ohio’s HB 135, which would ban abortions sought due to fetal diagnoses of Down syndrome.
The Life of a Professional Guinea Pigby Cari RommThe AtlanticSeptember 23rd, 2015Phase 1 trials are almost always where the money is. Is paying vulnerable populations to participate in dangerous drug studies the equivalent of coercion?
Disability and the Politics of Abortion by Judith LevineSeven Days [Vermont]September 9th, 2015We must not use technology to cull fetuses that might have differently abled bodies. We cannot allow abortion law to rescue them at the cost of their mothers' freedom.
Does Down Syndrome Justify Abortion?by Mark Lawrence SchradNew York TimesSeptember 4th, 2015In a typical pregnancy, women who choose to have an abortion are often saddled with shame and social stigma. Meanwhile, there remains significant stigma associated with being the parent of a child with special needs.
Court: $50M verdict in Seattle-area ‘wrongful birth’ doesn't shock the conscienceby Levi PulkkinenSeattlePIAugust 26th, 2015A Washington appeals court upheld a $50 million verdict in favor of a couple whose son was born with severe birth defects that should have been spotted by genetic testing.
Ohio Bill Would Ban Abortion if Down Syndrome Is Reasonby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesAugust 22nd, 2015The legislature is expected to approve the measure. Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who is running for president, opposes abortion but has not yet taken a position on this bill.
Fertility Clinics Let You Select Your Baby’s Sexby Sumathi ReddyThe Wall Street Journal“Family balancing” can become a smoke screen for families who want boys. Nonmedical sex selection is legal in only a few countries, including the US; medical organizations are split on the issue.
Ageing and Fertility: Biology Comes Secondby Kirsty OswaldBioNewsAugust 10th, 2015As long as we live in a society that expects women to sacrifice so much more than men to be a parent, we might as well stop talking about biology.
US Tailored-Medicine Project Aims for Ethnic Balanceby Sara ReardonNature NewsJuly 21st, 2015The $215-million Precision Medicine Initiative is having trouble meeting an imminent deadline, in part because its priorities include filling racial and socio-economic gaps left by other long-term studies.
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