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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.

Putting a Price on Human Eggs Makes No Senseby Debora SparFortuneNovember 21st, 2015No one wants to deal with the ugly reality that egg donation is not donation at all, but a high price paid for a piece of one’s body. We have identified this transaction and allowed it. Now we are only squabbling over the price.
California Judge Orders Frozen Embryos Destroyed[cites CGS Fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Andy NewmanThe New York TimesNovember 19th, 2015A superior court judge in San Francisco ordered the thawing and destruction of a divorced couple's frozen embryos, enforcing the terms of the couple's pre-divorce agreement.
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #4, Part 3: The Blurry Boundaries of Eugenic Infanticideby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015The final entry of the three-part examination of Dr. Harry Haiselden, Baby John Bollinger, and the practice of eugenic infanticide explores the legacy of Haiselden’s career and its meaning for the rights of individuals with disabilities.
Making Indigenous Peoples Equal Partners in Gene Researchby Ed YongThe AtlanticOctober 23rd, 2015After leaving a partnership with NIH in 2003, the Akimel O’odham (Pima) tribe is retaining control of their bio samples and shaping the goals of a diabetes project with genomic researchers.
Cops Want To Look At 23andMe Customers’ DNAby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedOctober 21st, 2015The FBI and other agencies have asked for — and been denied — five users’ data, according to a new transparency report on the company's website, and chain of custody could be a legal obstacle for future requests.
American Surrogate Death: NOT the Firstby Mirah RibenHuffPost BlogOctober 15th, 2015Brooke Lee Brown's death "underscores the ethical problem with asking women to serve as surrogates for non-medical reasons." Is death simply an occupational hazard in the surrogacy industry?
'Great Pause' Among Prosecutors As DNA Proves Fallibleby Martin KasteNPROctober 9th, 2015The revelation that Texas labs have been using outdated protocols to analyze mixed DNA samples has led to concerns about thousands of criminal cases.
DNA At the Fringes: Twins, Chimerism, and Synthetic DNAby Erin E. MurphyThe Daily BeastOctober 7th, 2015DNA tests are thought to be conclusive, but our genetic material acts in mysterious ways. Chimerism, for example, may "undermine the very basis of the forensic DNA system."
Advances in DNA Testing Could Put Thousands of Texas Cases in Legal Limboby Meagan FlynnHouston PressOctober 5th, 2015Problems with analyses of testing with mixed DNA samples has cast doubt on many DNA-based criminal convictions in 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.
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