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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how the structural provisions of the American Constitution and the federalist system of government they create uniquely shape the landscape of regulation for technology in the United States. The chapter’s inquiry focuses on the biomedical technologies associated with assisted reproduction and embryo research. These areas present vexing normative questions about the introduction and deployment of these technologies, showing the mechanisms, dynamics, virtues, and limits of the federalist system of government for the regulation of technology. In particular, the differing jurisdictional scope of federal and state regulation results in overlap and interplay between the two regulatory systems. The consequence of this dynamic is often a wide divergence in judgments about law and public policy. The chapter’s review of the constitutionally fragmented regime currently regulating different biotechnologies questions whether such a decentralized approach is well suited to technologies that involve essential moral and ethical judgments about the human person.

Keywords: United States Constitution, federalism, regulation, biotechnology, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, assisted reproduction

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