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Reproducing inequalities: assisted conception and the challenge of legal pluralism

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Taking a comparative perspective, this article examines the effect upon single persons of eligibility criteria for access to new reproductive technologies in the UK, using as a parallel recent developments in this area in Australia. Through an analysis of the decision of the Federal Court of Australia (Victoria) in McBain v. State of Victoria & others [2000] FCA 1009, in which state legislation that prohibited single women from gaining access to assisted conception services was deemed contrary to the Commonwealth's Sex Discrimination Act 1984, the article examines the potential for challenging the current access provisions in the UK. This is particularly relevant in the light of developments at the supra-national level, including the recent incorporation into domestic law of the European Convention on Human Rights and the increasing potential of European Union law to touch upon health-care matters.
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Keywords: (in)fertility treatment services; European law; discrimination; fundamental rights; gender; marital status

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Kent Law School, University of Kent

Publication date: 2002-02-01

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