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Religion and Reproductive Genetics: Beyond Views of Embryonic Life?

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Abstract:

Advances in new reproductive genetic technologies have spawned a very polarized public and political debate. As with the abortion debate, most formal opposition to these technologies comes from religious organizations that are concerned about embryonic and fetal life. In this article we conduct an analysis of the first nationally representative opinion survey on religion and reproductive genetics. We find, as in the abortion debate, that evangelicals, fundamentalists, and traditionalist Catholics are more opposed than more liberal religious groups. When we compare respondents with the same views on embryonic life, we find that differences remain in the level of approval for genetic technologies, suggesting that there is more to this debate than concern about embryos. We also find that religious conservatives are more distinct from the religious nonattenders in their views of health objectives of reproductive genetic technologies and less distinct in their views of improvement objectives.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2007.00378.x

Affiliations: 1: John H. Evans is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. 2: Kathy Hudson is the Director of the Genetics and Public Policy and Associate Professor in the Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University, 1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW # 530, Washington, DC 20036.

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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