Book: Beyond Bioethics: Toward a New Biopolitics

Beyond Bioethics: Toward a New Biopolitics
Edited By: Osagie K. Obasogie and Marcy Darnovsky | University of California Press | March 2018

Beyond Bioethics by Osagie K. Obasogie, Marcy DarnovskyFrom the publisher’s website:

For decades, the field of bioethics has shaped the way we think about ethical problems in science, technology, and medicine. But its traditional emphasis on individual interests such as doctor-patient relationships, informed consent, and personal autonomy is minimally helpful in confronting the social and political challenges posed by new human biotechnologies such as assisted reproduction, human genetic modification, and DNA forensics. Beyond Bioethics addresses these provocative issues from an emerging standpoint that is attentive to race, gender, class, disability, privacy, and notions of democracy—a “new biopolitics.”

This authoritative volume provides an overview for those grappling with the profound dilemmas posed by these developments. It brings together the work of cutting-edge thinkers from diverse fields of study and public engagement, all of them committed to this new perspective grounded in social justice and public interest values.

Report: Toward a Strengthened Assisted Human Reproduction Act

Toward a Strengthened Assisted Human Reproduction Act
By Health Canada | July 11, 2017

This report tracks steps taken by the Government of Canada towards strengthening the country’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act and supporting regulation. It focuses on three specific areas: the safety of donor sperm and eggs; the process, scope, and documentation related to reimbursement; administration and enforcement.

The purpose of the document, according to its introduction, is to provide Canadians with an overview of key policy proposals that will help inform the development of regulations and engage citizens prior to finalizing policy. Several members of Impact Ethics participated in a public consultation (read the summary), including Françoise Baylis, co-editor of “Family Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges.”

Read the full report >

Read a commentary on Health Canada’s efforts to reboot the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, contributed to the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics by Francine Coeytaux (Co-Director of Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research), Marcy Darnovsky (Executive Director of Center for Genetics and Society), Susan Berke Fogel (Co-Director of Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research), and Emily Galpern (Consultant at Center for Genetics and Society).

Article: Wrong Steps: The First One from Three

Wrong Steps: The First One from Three
By Pete Shanks | Deccan Chronicle | Oct. 2, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-42-35-amNews broke this week that the first “three-parent” baby had been born. But the untested and controversial nature of the procedure that created the child, and the end run around public policy that it entailed, raise many more questions than answers.

This article covers an experimental procedure that has, for the first time, successfully created a child using the DNA of three “parents.”

It briefly outlines the steps involved in Mitochondrial Replacement Technique (MRT), as well as the potential long-term health risks to the newborn and the ethical implications — including the medical provider’s decision to perform the procedure in Mexico, where there is no regulation. (As author Pete Shanks noes, it may not be “technically illegal” in the United States, but Congress has not permitted the Food and Drug Administration to conduct clinical trials).

Plus: Responding to the news, Marcy Darnovsky, director of the Center for Genetics and Society, told NBC News: “No researcher or doctor has the right to flout agreed-upon rules and make up their own. This is an irresponsible and unethical act, and sets a dangerous precedent.”

Earlier this year, Darnovsky discussed her concerns related to MRT during an interview on PBS NewsHour. Watch below.

Report: Global Surrogacy Practices

Global Surrogacy Practices
By Marcy Darnovsky and Diane Beeson | ISS Working Paper Series / General Series Vol. 601

This report summarizes discussions of participants in Thematic Area 5 (Global Surrogacy Practices) of the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy held in August 2014. The full text is available for download.

From the press release:

We are pleased to announce the publication of Global Surrogacy Practices, co-authored by CGS Executive Director Marcy Darnovsky and CGS Fellow Diane Beeson. The 54-page report is based on presentations and discussions at the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy, a landmark conference that brought together nearly a hundred scholars, women’s health and human rights advocates and policymakers from 27 countries at the International Institute of Social Studies this past summer.

The Forum took place in the wake of international headlines about disturbing cross-border surrogacy incidents, including one case in which an Australian couple abandoned their baby son, who has Down syndrome, with his Thai surrogate mother.

“The Forum provided an unprecedented opportunity for advocates and scholars working on intercountry adoption and on intercountry surrogacy to jointly consider the many concerns that have emerged in connection with these practices,” said CGS Executive Director and report co-author Marcy Darnovsky.

“The conversations centered on ways to improve international standards around the evolving practices of cross-border adoption and surrogacy, in which children typically move from poorer to wealthier countries,” said Kristen Cheney, Forum organizer and Senior Lecturer in Children & Youth Studies at International Institute of Social Studies.

Read the full report >

Diane Beeson is co-founder and associate director of the Alliance for Humane Biotechnology. Marcy Darnovsky is executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society.

Article: Offshore Babies: The Murky World of Transnational Surrogacy

Offshore Babies: The Murky World of Transnational Surrogacy
By Amel Ahmad | Al Jazeera | Aug. 11, 2014

Excerpt:

al jazeera logoThe case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning their child with his Thai surrogate mother after discovering he had Down syndrome — and taking home his healthy twin — has turned global attention to the murky underworld of international surrogacy.

Such cases have raised ethical and legal dilemmas, which experts say are the inevitable consequences of an unregulated multibillion-dollar industry dependent on impoverished women in developing countries providing a “product” — a child — so desperately wanted by would-be parents in wealthier nations.

In Baby Gammy’s case, which made international headlines this month, the boy’s Australian parents are claiming that the Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, refused to release the child into their custody and that they lacked the legal right to force her to do so.

This article provides a global overview of laws related to international commercial surrogacy, with a focus on Thailand. It delves into issues specific to the rights of children – such as citizenship and legal parentage – and links to the work being done by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, an intergovernmental organization, on the legal challenges posed by the practice.

Read the full article >

Read a report, Global Surrogacy Practices, published by Marcy Darnovsky and Diane Beeson, summarizing discussions on global surrogacy at the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy, The Hague, August 2014.

Organization: Center for Genetics and Society

Center for Genetics and Society
United States

United StatesThe Center for Genetics and Society (CGS) is a public-interest organization based in California working to reclaim human biotechnologies for the common good.

CGS brings a social justice, human rights, and public interest perspective to human genetic and assisted reproductive technologies and practices, supporting those that are beneficial and opposing those that threaten to increase inequality, discrimination, and conflict.

CGS provides a range of digital resources that track and analyze developments on issues related to the social meaning of human biotechnologies including: a robust website and active presence on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube; Biopolitical Times, a longstanding blog with staff and guest contributors; and Talking Biopolitics, a series of conversations with leading thinkers, ethicists, and researchers. Learn more and visit the CGS website for a full overview of resources.

Their newest project, Pop A.R.T., explores the influence of art and culture on public opinion and policy decisions about biotechnologies. This column includes, among others, a look at the blurred lines between reality and reality TVmusings from a comic fan, revisiting Gattaca in the age of Trump, why we love(d) Orphan Black, and the latest on Bollywood’s birds and bees.

Happy browsing!