Article ID: CBB153766870

Borderlands of Life: IVF Embryos and the Law in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany (2020)


Human embryos produced in labs since the 1970s have generated layers of uncertainty for law and policy: ontological, moral, and administrative. Ontologically, these lab-made entities fall into a gray zone between life and not-yet-life. Should in vitro embryos be treated as inanimate matter, like abandoned postsurgical tissue, or as private property? Morally, should they exist largely outside of state control in the zone of free reproductive choice or should they be regarded as autonomous human lives and thus entitled to constitutional protection like full-fledged citizens? Administratively, if they deserve protection, what institutional and policy mechanisms are best suited to carrying out the necessary oversight? Using a method termed comparative problematization, this article traces divergent answers to these questions produced in three countries—the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany—across the last twenty-five years. Comparison reveals distinct bioconstitutional foundations that give rise to systematically different understandings of each state’s responsibilities toward human life and hence its particular treatment of claims on behalf of embryonic lives.

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Article J. Benjamin Hurlbut; Sheila Jasanoff; Krishanu Saha (2020) Constitutionalism at the Nexus of Life and Law. Science, Technology, and Human Values (pp. 979-1000). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Barnett, Clive
Geschwind, Carl-Henry
Heinemann, Torsten
Hinterberger, Amy
Hurlbut, James Benjamin
Jasanoff, Sheila
Science, Technology, and Human Values
History of the Human Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Franco Angeli
Lexington Books
Oxford University Press
Science and law
Human-animal relationships
Cross-national comparison
Animal rights
Science and politics
Controversies and disputes
Pauling, Linus Carl
Hückel, Walter
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
United Kingdom
United States

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