Marginalising 'eugenic anxiety' through a rhetoric of 'liberal choice': a critique of the House of Commons Select Committee Report on reproductive technologies

James Mittra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In light of a recent House of Commons Select Committee investigation into the regulation of human reproductive technologies, this article critically evaluates the Committee's case for a devolved, libertarian-inspired framework for the regulation of reproductive technologies. In assessing the appropriate balance between legislation, regulation and reproductive freedom, the Committee rightly challenged those who exhibit a myopic history of eugenics to justify restricting reproductive choice. However, by uncritically embracing the tropes of procreative liberty and genetic progress, and defining eugenics in terms of intention rather than consequence, the Committee appeared to ignore or marginalise a number of sociological challenges to the presumptions couched within the doctrine of 'liberal choice'. This article suggests that failure to consider the cultural and political context within which new technologies are shaped and social needs constructed might undermine any ostensible virtues of a devolved system of governance for reproductive medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-179
Number of pages21
JournalNew Genetics and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Aug 2007
EventWorkshop on Science and Politics - The Case of Genetics - Oslo, Norway
Duration: 15 Sep 200516 Sep 2006



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