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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.



Silicon Valley’s Egg-Freezing Perk Is Bad for People Across the Boardby Marcy DarnovskyRH Reality CheckOctober 23rd, 2014Egg freezing is an individualized, questionably effective technical fix for a fundamentally social problem.
Minister Sparks Backlash for Suggesting Foreigners Could Undergo 'Three-Parent Babies' IVF Treatment in Britainby Ben Riley-SmithTelegraphOctober 23rd, 2014Jane Ellison says she expects overseas patients to receive controversial IVF treatment if Parliament approves legislation in move politicians say could trigger new health tourism.
Human Intestine Grown in Mouse for First Time as Scientists Say There is Hope to Create 'Spare Parts' for Peopleby Steve ConnorThe IndependentOctober 20th, 2014Whole organs, composed of a complex arrangement of specialized tissues, could one day be made inside a patient’s body.
Yes, I Froze My Eggs, But am I a Victim of a New Fertility Racket?by Jemma KennedyThe GuardianOctober 18th, 2014Last week, Apple joined ranks with Facebook in offering free egg-freezing to staff who want to delay having children. Is this a step towards equality in the workplace or a machiavellian form of social engineering?
Regulate Synthetic Biology Now: 194 CountriesSynBioWatchOctober 17th, 2014SynBio industry’s wild west days are numbered.
Dear Facebook, Please Don't Tell Women to Lean In to Egg Freezingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostOctober 16th, 2014What we need are family-friendly workplace policies, not giveaways that will encourage women to undergo invasive procedures in order to squeeze out more work for their company under the guise of "empowerment."
Left Out In The Cold: Seven Reasons Not To Freeze Your Eggsby Françoise BaylisImpact EthicsOctober 16th, 2014Apparently the professional cautions against egg freezing for elective purposes from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine are of no consequence to Facebook or Apple.
Frozen II : The Tech Industry’s Eggs[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]The Weekly WonkOctober 16th, 2014A group of experts react to the news that Apple and Facebook will pay for female employees to freeze their eggs.
How Should the U.S. Regulate Genetic Testing?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 16th, 2014The question, addressed at a conference at Stanford’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, is both complicated and critical.
Dear Facebook, Please Don’t Tell Women to Lean In to Egg Freezingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2014In the latest example of Silicon Valley’s challenges in dealing with non-virtual reality, Facebook and Apple are offering female employees a $20,000 benefit toward elective egg freezing, despite serious and under-studied health risks to women and children.
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