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Dov Fox, "Birth Rights & Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology Are Remaking Reproduction and the Law"

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Dov Fox, "Birth Rights & Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology Are Remaking Reproduction and the Law"

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September 10, 2019

Book Talk: Birth Rights and Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology are Remaking Reproduction and the Law

Millions of Americans rely on the likes of birth control, IVF, and genetic testing to make plans as intimate and far-reaching as any over a lifetime. This is no less than the medicine of miracles. It fills empty cradles, frees families from terrible disease, and empowers them to fashion their lives on their own terms. But accidents happen.

Pharmacists mix up pills. Lab techs misread tests. Obstetricians tell women their healthy fetuses would be stillborn. Political and economic forces conspire against regulation. And judges throw up their hands when professionals foist parenthood on people who didn't want it, or childlessness on those who did. Failed abortions, switched donors, and lost embryos may be first-world problems. But these aren't innocent lapses or harmless errors. They're wrongs in need of rights.

At this event, author Dov Fox and an expert panel discussed his book Birth Rights and Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology are Remaking Reproduction and the Law (Oxford University Press, 2019). Panelists explored the ways in which the book seeks to lift the curtain on reproductive negligence, give voice to the lives it upends, and vindicate the interests that advances in medicine and technology bring to full expression. They also examined the book's effort to force citizens and courts to rethink the reproductive controversies of our time, and to equip us to meet the new challenges -- from womb transplants to gene editing -- that lie just over the horizon.

Learn more: https://petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/events/details/book-talk-birth-rights-and-wrongs

September 10, 2019

Book Talk: Birth Rights and Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology are Remaking Reproduction and the Law

Millions of Americans rely on the likes of birth control, IVF, and genetic testing to make plans as intimate and far-reaching as any over a lifetime. This is no less than the medicine of miracles. It fills empty cradles, frees families from terrible disease, and empowers them to fashion their lives on their own terms. But accidents happen.

Pharmacists mix up pills. Lab techs misread tests. Obstetricians tell women their healthy fetuses would be stillborn. Political and economic forces conspire against regulation. And judges throw up their hands when professionals foist parenthood on people who didn't want it, or childlessness on those who did. Failed abortions, switched donors, and lost embryos may be first-world problems. But these aren't innocent lapses or harmless errors. They're wrongs in need of rights.

At this event, author Dov Fox and an expert panel discussed his book Birth Rights and Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology are Remaking Reproduction and the Law (Oxford University Press, 2019). Panelists explored the ways in which the book seeks to lift the curtain on reproductive negligence, give voice to the lives it upends, and vindicate the interests that advances in medicine and technology bring to full expression. They also examined the book's effort to force citizens and courts to rethink the reproductive controversies of our time, and to equip us to meet the new challenges -- from womb transplants to gene editing -- that lie just over the horizon.

Learn more: https://petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/events/details/book-talk-birth-rights-and-wrongs

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Dov Fox, "Birth Rights & Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology Are Remaking Reproduction and the Law"

  1. 1. Birth Rights & Wrongs HOW MEDICINE AND TECHNOLOGY ARE REMAKING REPRODUCTION AND THE LAW
  2. 2. Reproductive Revolution Long-term contraception In vitro fertilization Non-invasive screening
  3. 3. Too Many Mistakes Parents Sue Doctors Over ‘Wrongful Abortion’ A test told a couple their child might be intersex and have a genetic disorder. The test was wrong.
  4. 4. How Xytex profiled:  Neuro-engineering Ph.D.  160 IQ (e.g., Einstein, Hawkins)  Clean bill of health: colorblindness is only reported medical condition What families got:  Dropped out of college  Convicted of burglary etc.  Diagnosed with schizophrenia & bipolar disorder among others Donor 9623 26 families 36 children
  5. 5. Fertility Freezer Failures Video Source: Second Fertility Clinic Reports Equipment Failure, Hundreds of Embryos May Be Damaged, CBS (Mar. 12, 2018), https://youtu.be/vY4hFIRaPv0.
  6. 6. Birth Control Blunders Video Source: Lawsuit Alleges Birth Control Packaging Error Led to Unwanted Pregnancies, NBC Nightly News (Nov. 12, 2015), https://youtu.be/pye10UFmbWs.
  7. 7. Reproductive Never Events
  8. 8. Regulatory Vacuum  Federal  State  Professional
  9. 9. Nothing Quite Fits Medical Malpractice Loss of Property Breach of Contract Products Liability Emotional Distress
  10. 10. Categorical Rejection  “[The] law does not recognize the disruption of family planning either as an independent cause of action or as an element of damages.” Rye v. Women’s Care Ctr. of Memphis, 477 S.W.3d 235, 271–72 (Tenn. 2015).
  11. 11. BABY AnyNo Particular
  12. 12. Personality Torts Privacy Libel Informed Consent
  13. 13. Wrongs and Rights Procreation Confounded Procreation Imposed Procreation Deprived
  14. 14. No Baby  Missing Embryos  Rx Abortion Mix-up  Fetal False Positives
  15. 15. Procreation Deprived Intangible harms Adoption option Preexisting infertility
  16. 16. What Might Have Been
  17. 17. A(ny) Baby  Missed Pregnancy  Botched Vasectomy  Failed Patches
  18. 18. Procreation Imposed Fear of fraud Babies are blessings Duty to abort/adopt?
  19. 19. Parental Ambivalence Image by Elinor Carucci // Jen Gann, Fighting for My Son With Cystic Fibrosis, New York Magazine: The Cut (Nov. 27, 2017), https://perma.cc/3TA7-GHUJ. Loving Children. Shaming Mothers.
  20. 20. Particular Baby  Mislabeled Donors  Misdiagnosed Fetus Switched Embryos
  21. 21. Procreation Confounded Got what you wanted Words can wound Fraught remedies
  22. 22. It’s a Wonderful Life Atlanta Obs. & Gyn. Group v. Abelson, 398 S.E.2d 557, 561 (Ga. 1990) Taylor v. Kurapati, 600 N.W.2d 670, 688 (Mich. Ct. App. 1999)
  23. 23. Ballpark Awards "But why should the law measure in monetary terms a loss which has no monetary dimension?" --Louis L. Jaffe, Damages for Personal Injury: The Impact of Insurance, 18 LAW & CONTEMP. PROBS. 219, 222 (1953).
  24. 24. Measuring Damages 1. How much is misconduct to blame? 2. How serious is the injury?
  25. 25. Genetic Affinity Image by GlynLowe.com/Flickr // G. Owen Schaefer, In a World First, Singapore’s Highest Court Rules That Parents Deserve Kids With Their Genes, The Conversation (Apr. 3, 2017 2.00am EDT), https://perma.cc/GL7Q-8JRJ “[The] biological experience — heredity — carries deep socio-cultural significance. For many, the emotional bond between parent and child is forged in part through a sense of common ancestry and a recognition of common [] temperament and physical appearance.” ACB v. Thomson Med. Pte Ltd. [2017] SGHC 20, at para. 128 (Sing.)
  26. 26. Social Interests Offspring Welfare Family Dynamics Racial Equality
  27. 27. Wronged. But Harmed? Zelt v. Xytex, No. 18-11164, at *15 (11th Cir. Feb. 4, 2019)
  28. 28. Donor Misrepresentation Video Source: Nicole Carr, Sperm Donor Lies on Profile, Leaving Georgia Families with Few Options, WBS-TV.com (May 9, 2018), https://youtu.be/KfZ8WnGFfdU.
  29. 29. Abide or Vindicate
  30. 30. Thank You

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