Embryonic Discourse

Doglin, Janet L.
March 2004
Issues in Law & Medicine;Spring2004, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p203
Academic Journal
This Article interprets the debate about abortion and the debate about embryonic research and therapeutic cloning as aspects of a larger history of ideas. The Article suggests that embryos increasingly stand for different truths in discourse about abortion on the one-and and about embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning on the other. More specifically, the Article suggests that the contemporary debate about the meaning of the embryo in the context both of abortion and of embryonic research bespeaks a widespread transformation in Western, and especially American, society during the last three or four decades. At base, that transformation involves displacement of an understanding of personhood, particularly in domestic settings that depended on the submersion of individualism with an understanding of personhood that values autonomous individuality and that envisions community as the consequence of individuals' distinct choices rather than as a pre-existing, hierarchically structured whole.


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