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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

21 SEP 2011

Happy families, consenting couples, and children with dignity: sex selection and saviour siblings [2005] CFLQ 435

This article considers whether the State may legitimately restrict access to embryo-screening technologies where all relevant parties consent to the use of such procedures. It is argued that, consent notwithstanding, in a culture committed to respect for human rights, the State may legitimately claim a precautionary (or stewardship) jurisdiction. While, in the current context, such a jurisdiction might not readily justify prohibitions on the screening of embryos for sex selection or saviour sibling purposes, matters might be rather different if reproductive technologies chip away at the viability of a community of rights. Even if consent operates as a justification as between the consenting parties, it does not necessarily insulate them against legitimate State intervention - to believe otherwise is to commit the 'fallacy of sufficiency', over-stating the justificatory significance of consent.

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