Parental Perspectives and Law
Among all human practices, procreation seems the most paradoxical. It starts as a fully personal choice and ends with the creation of a new subject of rights and responsibilities. Advances in reproductive genetics pose new ethical and legal questions. They are expected to prevent the transmission of genetic diseases to progeny and also to improve genetically-endowed mental and physical attributes. Genetic selection and enhancement may affect a child’s identity, as well as the parent-child relationship. The authors are committed to a pluralistic approach that captures all aspects of this relationship in terms of moral virtues and principles. They elucidate that most of the conflicts between parental preferences and a child’s rights could be resolved with reference to the meaning and nature of procreation.
13 Intrinsic and instrumental values in the assessment of human enhancement
One of the objections against bioconservatism is that it insufficiently distinguishes between the various degrees of human enhancement. Taking drugs to improve memory or concentration is regarded in the same way as embryo selection for cognitive enhancement, and this, in turn, in the same way as creating an enhanced brain-machine interface. Advocates of human enhancement claim that there are no reasons strong enough to justify the prohibition of all enhancing interventions. According to them, the reasons for and against various interventions should be balanced against each other to formulate a moral judgment about the permissibility or impermissibility of a given intervention.
The debate on the strength of reasons in the assessment of human enhancement is usually based on one of the following distinctions of reasons. The first one is a distinction between person-affecting and impartial reasons. It concerns the effects of actual decisions about using enhancing technologies on the existence, identity, and number of future people. Predominantly, it is assumed that in the situations in which it is possible to show that a given intervention would be beneficial or harmful for a future person, the person-affecting reasons are stronger than impersonal ones (see Chapter 12). The main problem is that many actions taken in the context of human enhancement, e.g. procreative decisions and embryo selection, can hardly be viewed as person-affecting harm (Saunders 2015). The second distinction is between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons. The former are based on the agent’s perspective – they concern her own well-being,...
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