Document Type

Journal Article


The circumstances surrounding cases that challenge accepted conventions, practices, and values, in particular those involving the conception of the family and how those families come into existence, is understandably, highly charged. In particular, those cases which operate at the intersection of medicine, biology, technology, social expectation, and religion, and which could not occur in 'nature' cause the most apprehension. They can only come about because of biotechnological and medical intervention. As Dwyer observes, 'these techniques may be desired by the subject, but may cause wider public concern. Bioethics is therefore increasingly concerned with protecting the interests of society from the individual as well as the individual from society. Brownsword suggests that there has been a loss of moral compass guiding individuals (blaming postmodernism and social dislocation among other things), which never occurred in more than the cohesive social structures of pre-modern society. Thus, the State must intrude in problematic cases, overriding choices of individuals where necessary.