Since the first fertilization of a human egg in the laboratory
in 1968, scientific and technological breakthroughs have raised
ethical dilemmas and generated policy controversies on both sides
of the Atlantic. Embryo, stem cell, and cloning research have
provoked impassioned political debate about their religious, moral,
legal, and practical implications. National governments make rules
that govern the creation, destruction, and use of embryos in the
laboratory-but they do so in profoundly different ways.
In Embryo Politics, Thomas Banchoff provides a
comprehensive overview of political struggles aboutembryo research
during four decades in four countries-the United States, the United
Kingdom, Germany, and France. Banchoff's book, the first of its
kind, demonstrates the impact of particular national histories and
institutions on very different patterns of national governance.
Over time, he argues, partisan debate and religious-secular
polarization have come to overshadow ethical reflection and
political deliberation on the moral status of the embryo and the
promise of biomedical research. Only by recovering a robust and
public ethical debate will we be able to govern revolutionary
life-science technologies effectively and responsibly into the
Subjects: Health Sciences
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