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Ethics, Genetics and Reproduction Philosophy - Essay Example

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Ever since the times of the Greeks and the Romans, to the onset of the biblically inspired doctrines in the West, the course of free thinking and ethical evaluation has been vehemently opposed to any stark homogenization of values. Contention can sometimes turn out to be a positive attribute in the sense that the emergence of contentious issues in a social set up is often indicative of a vibrant and evolving society…
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Ethics, Genetics and Reproduction Philosophy

Download file to see previous pages... Had the things been that simple, any type of intellectual debate would have become a mere travesty that would have predominantly remained confined to evaluating the emerging social and ethical issues by the established yardsticks. However, this was never to happen. Luckily, such a travesty of intellectual and ethical catechism is infact next to impossible in the contemporary technology driven society where the emergence of latest scientific discoveries and novel possibilities infact more then ever impinges upon the collective human consciousness to see and analyze the emerging issues in a multifaceted context. In such a mature and liberal social scenario, issues related to fertility, reproduction and surrogate motherhood assume special significance in an ethical, legal, theological and philosophical context that attract the attention and interest of thinkers and intellectuals from all the spheres of social life. In her work 'The Case against the Legalization of Contract Motherhood', Christine Overall defines surrogate motherhood as, "a reproductive practice in which a women agrees before becoming pregnant, to surrender the baby she gestates to a man who has commissioned the pregnancy, usually in return for a set fee (112)." As is evident to any thinking individual, the issue is doubtlessly open to a variety of conflicting opinions and is fraught with contention, so far as its ethical and legal ramifications are concerned. It not only invites a debate on the issue of the 'right to reproduce', but also implores whether the criminalization of commercial surrogacy contracts infringe upon the right to reproduce. A whole spectrum of opinions exists on the issue under consideration that vary from being outright endorsing or reprehensive to those somewhat being mild, liberal and situation based. The case of Mary Beth v/s William Stern litigated in the Supreme Court of New Jersey infact raised more issues that are relevant to the given topic then coming out with ample inalienable and irrefutable conclusions and guidelines.
Many of the outspoken feminists hold that commercial surrogacy amounts to trivializing the whole concept of labor and motherhood. The very fact that such activities are coordinated and conducted by astute brokers makes the whole thing sound more of an industrial activity then the scared and sensitive experience of becoming a mother. This issue is fraught with grave possibilities, so far as the status of the women and the children in the society is concerned. It can not only thwart the society's onward march to achieving sexual equality, but has the potential to infringe upon the rights of the children. The problem is that most of the heard of opinions till now, pertaining to this issue were forwarded by theologians and conservatives. This temporarily obfuscated the logical and rational moorings of the whole issue and made it seem anti-science and recidivist. Still, there is no dearth of critics who are outright modern and contemporary in their perspective and who denounce the idea of contractual surrogacy on the more understandable grounds of human exploitation and the blatant commercialization of the ability to reproduce.
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