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Report by the President's Council on Bioethics: Reproduction and Responsibility

Genetic Crossroads
April 9th, 2004

Last week the President's Council on Bioethics released its new report, Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies. The policies proposed in the report are ones that liberals and progressives committed to reproductive rights and responsible research should be able to support. The report includes recommendations for:

  • increased federal funding for studies of the health and developmental impacts of new reproductive technologies
  • improved reporting of success and failure rates by fertility clinics
  • new patient protections
  • greater oversight by professional committees

The report also recommends legal prohibitions on dangerous or socially unacceptable uses of genetic technology, including:

  • transfer of human embryos into animals
  • creation of human-animal hybrids
  • cloning to make babies
  • purchase and sale of human embryos
  • use of human embryos for experiments beyond a set number of days

The report focused on policies which all members of the Council were able to support, and avoided topics, such as stem cell research, on which Council members are divided. As a consequence the report received favorable, though cautious, approval from both industry groups such as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and conservative religious groups such as the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For a San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed by CGS Executive Director Richard Hayes, see:
http://www.genetics-and-society.org/resources/cgs/20040404_sfchron_hayes.html

For a press statement released by CGS Associate Director Marcy Darnovsky and Our Bodies Ourselves Executive Director Judy Norsigian, see:
http://www.genetics-and-society.org/resources/cgs/20040401_bioethicscouncil.html

For the full report by the President's Council, see:
http://www.bioethics.gov


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