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Reframing RightsBioconstitutionalism in the Genetic Age$
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Sheila Jasanoff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015950

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015950.001.0001

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Making the Facts of Life

Making the Facts of Life

(p.59) 3 Making the Facts of Life
Reframing Rights

Sheila Jasanoff

The MIT Press

This chapter uses comparative analysis to investigate why embryos and their derivatives have been treated differently in national bioethical deliberations. Outlining some of the links between bioethics and biopolitics, it describes how commitments to specific bioconstitutional arrangements affected ethical choices in the United States, Britain, and Germany. It states that bioethical deliberation in each country serves as a site of ontological surgery. Then, it presents a few examples to illustrate the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) committees’ dedicated efforts to discharge its duties, how it understands its representational role, and how it deals with ambiguity and ambivalence in governing life. This chapter shows that the ethics committee’s own legitimacy rests on the bedrock of pluralist politics.

Keywords:   bioethics, biopolitics, United States, Britain, Germany, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight, life, ethics committee

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