Sheila A.M. McLean
Both at national and international level, the right to reproduce and form a family has considerable personal and social implications. The policies that underpin the regulatory approach in this area need careful consideration for their supporting values and principles. While regulation of reproductive decisions may be direct or indirect, it is virtually universal. Reflection on the importance of the decision whether or not to reproduce, irrespective of the sophistication (or not) of the techniques used to effect it, demands attention to the human rights guaranteed by national laws and international agreements. This remains the case whether or not the decision concerns an individual, a couple, or a nation. Thus, both individual reproductive choices and policies on population control must be measured against human rights norms. As regulation is generally based on policy decisions, it is also important to explore how policy is made and the assumptions that underpin it.