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Embryo PoliticsEthics and Policy in Atlantic Democracies$
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Thomas Banchoff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449574

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449574.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Embryo Politics

Thomas Banchoff

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book traces the legacy of a scientific and technological breakthrough that took place in 1968: the first successful fertilization of a human egg outside the womb. Over the four post-1968 decades, national ethics committees and elected leaders wrestled over the moral status of the embryo and the promise of biomedical research. They addressed moral conundrums against the backdrop of historical legacies including Nazi eugenics and more recent battles over the legalization of abortion. Backed by shifting coalitions of parties and interest groups, governments hammered out divergent policy regimes. The analysis compares the shifting politics of embryo research across four decades in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France to enable a careful comparison and analysis of the shifting politics of embryo research across four decades and four countries.

Keywords:   human egg, fertilization, ethics, ethical conflict, embryo research, biomedical research

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