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About Human Rights & Human Biotechnology


Claims to universal human rights depend, in part, on formal recognition of our common humanity. Many countries use human rights as a broad framework to think about regulatory options for human biotechnologies. International declarations also commonly use this framework. Examples include the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and UNESCO's Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights.

The Convention on Biomedicine and Human Rights, like a number of other international agreements and declarations, rejects biotechnology applications that would alter the genomes of future generations. Manipulating genes in a manner that encodes inequality into our genes could easily unravel centuries of progress toward respecting human worth.



Human Rights Body Warns Over Mass DNA Screeningby Elaine EdwardsThe Irish TimesApril 11th, 2014A Government proposal which would allow the taking of DNA samples for “mass screening” of certain “classes” of individuals should be prohibited, Ireland's national human rights watchdog has said.
Forced Sterilization Nurse: ‘I Can See Now It Was So Wrong’by Lori Jane GlihaAlJazeera AmericaMarch 24th, 2014A nurse at the government-run 'State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded' and witnessed what may have been thousands of forced sterilizations - part of a government effort to rid society of the “defective,” and create a super race.
Sterilization Survivors Can't Fully Escape Eugenics Eraby Calvin TriceNews LeaderMarch 23rd, 2014Some three dozen states had eugenics laws, and Virginia has been among those who have for decades resisted any attempts at compensating victims who are still alive.
What We Know About Three-Parent In Vitro Fertilizationby Jessica CussinsRH Reality CheckMarch 13th, 2014The creation of genetically manipulated babies would be a huge and dangerous step. So, what's the evidence about efficacy and safety, and what are the available alternatives?
When Science Doesn't Have all the Answersby Louise KinrossBloomMarch 6th, 2014My son’s rare genetic deletion is on the list of disorders identified by microarray analysis of a fetus’s DNA. It makes me sad to think that the lives of children like my son are being targeted for termination. Is this a step forward?
To Understand Science, Study Historyby Alejandra DubcovskyThe Chronicle of Higher EducationFebruary 24th, 2014Teaching history to students who plan to be doctors, scientists, or engineers forces them to lift their heads beyond the lab bench or the clipboard. It gives them a sensitivity that only the humanities can teach.
Old Songs, New Tests, and Expensive Childrenby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 20th, 2014The CEO of AOL justified a restructuring of the company’s 401(K) plan by citing two "distressed babies." This tone-deaf insensitivity was answered by a disapproving choir, but it sadly resembles too many descriptions of the "cost" of people with disabilities.
What are the Best Interests of the Child in International Surrogacy?by Professor Eric Blyth, Dr Marilyn Crawshaw and Professor Olga van den AkkerBioNewsFebruary 17th, 2014As the surrogacy industry grows, so too do calls for a loosening of international and domestic restraints. A consequence of this is the potential marginalization of the best interests of children.
Calif. Prison Doctor Linked to Sterilizations no Stranger to Controversyby Corey G. JohnsonThe Center for Investigative ReportingFebruary 13th, 2014A prison doctor investigated by the California medical board after ordering tubal ligations without state approval is responsible for hundreds of other inmate sterilizations.
CGS Letter to the FDA on Mitochondrial TransferThe Center for Genetics and Society's letter regarding the FDA's February 25-26 public meeting to discuss the advisability of a technique that would modify the human germline.
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