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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.



Four Problems with the DNA Databaseby Sharon FernandesTimes of IndiaAugust 2nd, 2015India's Human DNA Profiling Bill 2015 proposes to set up a national DNA database of criminals that will include rapists, murderers and kidnappers.
Congress Should Support Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testingby Kirk BloodsworthThe HillJuly 29th, 2015"If not for post-conviction DNA testing, I might still be in prison, or worse, I could have been executed."
Law Banning Commercial Surrogacy Takes Effect ThursdayBangkok PostJuly 29th, 2015A new law banning commercial surrogacy takes effect July 30 even as controversy continues to swirl around children born before the law was passed this winter.
Sperm Donor Fathers Reveal Struggle of Not Knowing Who Their Kids Areby Lauren McMahPerth Now [Australia]July 26th, 2015ďA lot of the commentary and discussion focuses on the donor-conceived people but I think itís equally important to look at the impact on donors."
Outsourcing Motherhood: India's Reproductive Dystopiaby Namita KohliHindustan TimesJuly 26th, 2015Stories of DNA mismatches, abandoned babies, and unscrupulous practices at IVF clinics suggest that commercial surrogacy in the country is almost in a state of lawlessness.
Scientist Criticizes Media Portrayal of Researchby Chris WoolstonNature NewsJuly 24th, 2015A psychology researcher looks at media missteps in reporting work on music and the brain.
The Power to Remake a Species[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rebecca BoyleFuture of Life Institute July 23rd, 2015CRISPR could be used to eliminate malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but further public discussion is needed.
Slipping Into Eugenics? Nathaniel Comfort on the History Behind CRISPRby Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesJuly 23rd, 2015A historian unravels the social and political context of genetic research and eugenics in the United States.
The Ethical Sperm Bank: An All-Open Sperm Bank. An Idea Whose Time Has Comeby  Wendy KramerHuffington PostJuly 22nd, 2015These are the only solutions in the absence of government regulation. Perhaps in time and as public pressure mounts, regulation will follow.
The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syalby Aisha FarooqDESIblitz.com [UK]July 22nd, 2015A new novel explores issues of infertility and surrogacy that affect South Asian and British Asian society today.
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