Working Session: Exploring our Differences about Reproductive and Genetic Technologies
Wednesday 28 July 2010, 2:45pm - 4:15pm

The Tarrytown Meetings brought together people who are concerned about the social and political implications of human biotechnologies, and who share many points of view. Yet differences exist among us, and sometimes within us.

Some points of divergence trace to broad predispositions. For example:

  • How much enthusiasm or wariness do we feel about new technologies?
  • When and how much do we work for public policy to regulate human biotechnologies?
  • Under what circumstances do we emphasize autonomy or solidarity as our highest commitments?

Other differences about reproductive and genetic technologies turn on how best to achieve shared values of social justice, equality, health, and the like. A core question is the extent to which it is appropriate to use high-tech assisted reproduction, especially when it involves third parties’ eggs or pregnancies, in order to satisfy people’s desires for a biologically related child?

How can we best address issues such as current anti-choice legislation to restrict “sex-selective” and “race-selective” abortion; the tension between the disability critique of prenatal (and pre-pregnancy) selection and our commitment to “choice;" sympathizing with parents’ desires for a child of a particular sex while discouraging sex selective practices; respecting women’s agency and working against exploitation in egg provision and surrogacy? How can we navigate these and other differences in the reproductive rights movement, and differences among ourselves.

What are the sources and implications of differing perspectives and opinions on these and other matters? How can we productively address them? How can we build trust across differences, including with allies who may initially be concerned about undesired consequences of public policies?

Knickerbocker Room


Documents Related to This Session