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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 7, 2015

Discourses on medical interventions in human reproduction (PGD and ART), state interventions and their justifications: Comparison of Slovak and German cases

Jana Plichtová and Claire Moulin-Doos
From the journal Human Affairs

Abstract

The paper presents a comparative analysis of the evolution of the legislative process concerning ART (especially PGD) in the specific cultural, societal and political contexts of two countries- Slovakia and Germany. Our analysis is based on 1. mapping the variety of discourses on ART in order to gain an understanding of the perspectives of the main actors and their arguments; and on 2. exploring the reasons for the differences in the current regulation of ART among European Union member states. In both Slovakia and Germany we found there was a deficit of democratic legitimacy, because the arguments and experiences of those primarily affected by the restrictive measures on the use of ART in medical care-infertile women and men-are not taken into consideration with any seriousness. On the contrary, government and legislators pay too much attention to the ethical opinions of the Catholic Church. Government intervention in Germany is highly problematic because there is no sufficient justification of the reasons behind restrictions on parental autonomy and the procreative freedom of women and men. Moreover, the restrictions are not consistent across an array of similar cases and are not applied equally to all (they differ depending on whether the embryo is in vivo or in vitro and healthy or unhealthy). Instead of an interventionist approach which protects the embryo against its own potential mother, it would be more sensible to adopt the “women-centered” approach already suggested by several authors (see for instance Freedman & Isaacs, 1993, Himmel & Michelmann, 2007). It holds that both the mother and embryo have to be at the centre of bioethical and legal considerations, instead of there being an exclusive reliance on ethical principles and expert opinions with regard to the embryo alone

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Published Online: 2015-4-7
Published in Print: 2015-4-1

© Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences