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Marginalising 'eugenic anxiety' through a rhetoric of 'liberal choice': a critique of the House of Commons Select Committee Report on reproductive technologies

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In light of a recent House of Commons Select Committee investigation into the regulation of human reproductive technologies, this article critically evaluates the Committee's case for a devolved, libertarian-inspired framework for the regulation of reproductive technologies. In assessing the appropriate balance between legislation, regulation and reproductive freedom, the Committee rightly challenged those who exhibit a myopic history of eugenics to justify restricting reproductive choice. However, by uncritically embracing the tropes of procreative liberty and genetic progress, and defining eugenics in terms of intention rather than consequence, the Committee appeared to ignore or marginalise a number of sociological challenges to the presumptions couched within the doctrine of 'liberal choice'. This article suggests that failure to consider the cultural and political context within which new technologies are shaped and social needs constructed might undermine any ostensible virtues of a devolved system of governance for reproductive medicine.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: ESRC Innogen Centre, Institute for the Study of Science, Technology & Innovation, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Publication date: 01 August 2007

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