The dangers posed by the new human genetic technologies were a major focus at the recent "Reproductive Justice for All" policy conference. It was an inspiring national gathering of more than 200 activists, advocates and academics. Co-hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Women's Studies Department at Smith College, the conference was designed to advance a social justice approach to reproductive and sexual health and rights. It placed race, culture, sexuality, age and class at the center of challenging and complex policy discussions and debates. Conference participants spent most of the time divided up into four policy areas: the rights of pregnant women, control of sexuality, the right to be a mother, and assisted reproductive and genetic technologies. Sujatha Jesudason, CGS Program Director for Gender, Justice and Human Genetics, was one of five presenters in the policy track that focused on new reproductive and genetics technologies.
Sujatha called conference participants' attention to the troubling questions around issues of women's eggs for stem cell research, sex selection, and the challenges these technologies pose in the current Supreme Court nominations process. Pointing to the Canadian and English models of national regulation, Sujatha suggested that now might be the time for the reproductive rights movement to begin internal discussions about what policies we might like to work towards in the US.After a day and a half of grappling with policy possibilities, a small working group formed to continue the conversation on new technologies. CGS was pleased to see the issues of reproductive and genetic technologies "go mainstream" in the reproductive rights movement, and is excited to continue the working-group conversation in the near future.