Birth Rights and Wrongs

Birth Rights and Wrongs : How Medicine and Technology are Remaking Reproduction and the Law

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Millions of Americans rely on the likes of birth control, IVF, and genetic testing to make plans as intimate and farreaching as any over a lifetime. This is no less than the medicine of miracles. It fills empty cradles, frees families from terrible disease, and empowers them to fashion their lives on their own terms. But accidents happen.

Pharmacists mix up pills. Lab techs misread tests. Obstetricians tell women their healthy fetuses would be stillborn. Political and economic forces conspire against regulation. And judges throw up their hands when professionals foist parenthood on people who didn't want it, or childlessness on those who did. Failed abortions, switched donors, and lost embryos may be first-world problems. But these aren't innocent lapses or harmless errors. They're wrongs in need of rights.

This book lifts the curtain on reproductive negligence, gives voice to the lives it upends, and vindicates the interests that advances in medicine and technology bring to full expression. It charts the legal universe of errors that:

(1) deprive pregnancy or parenthood of people who set out to pursue them;
(2) impose pregnancy or parenthood on those who tried to avoid these roles; or
(3) confound efforts to have a child with or without certain genetic traits.

This novel architecture forces citizens and courts to rethink the reproductive controversies of our time, and equips us to meet the new challenges-from womb transplants to gene editing-that lie just over the horizon.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 163 x 244 x 23mm | 500g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0190675721
  • 9780190675721

Review quote

[A] critically important book for anyone who has ever thought about whether to have a child. * Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School and author of Test-Tube Families and The New Kinship * This must-read book ... is just what the doctor ordered. * Eli Y. Adashi, Professor of Medical Science and former Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences, The Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University * [Fox] chronicles how and why the American legal system falls so short in addressing [reproductive] harms...[A] luminous contribution. * Jody Lynee Madeira, Professor of Law and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and author of Taking Baby Steps: How Patients and Fertility Clinics Collaborate in Conception * An insightful and engaging book that is bound to make its readers more interesting people and better-informed citizens. * Saul Levmore, William B. Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law and former Dean of the University of Chicago Law School, and coauthor of The Foundations of Tort Law * Dov Fox offers an intriguing legal approach to what should happen when reproductive technologies go awry. * Rene Almeling, Associate Professor of Sociology, Yale University, and author of Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm * Assisted reproduction's miraculous achievements often obscure the profound loss and lasting harm that negligent practices inflict on individuals and families. Calling for legal remedies, Birth Rights and Wrongs offers an innovative catalogue of the ways that babymaking interventions can go awry and recounts compelling stories that bring the analysis to life. * Susan Frelich Appleton, Lemma Barkeloo and Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis, and coauthor of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction: Families Under Construction * [A]n important book about an important and often heartbreaking subject. * Kenneth S. Abraham, Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, and author of The Liability Century: Insurance and Tort Law from the Progressive Era to 9/11 * Birth Rights and Wrongs promises to end the legal system's unwillingness to peer too closely into the mysteries of reproduction. * June Carbone, Robina Chair in Law, Science and Technology, University of Minnesota Law School, and coauthor of Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family * Through a novel approach to reproductive justice, Dov Fox makes the case that, instead of closing off the right to sue as they do today, courts should provide generous legal remedies to victims...who are prevented from becoming pregnant, those who are involuntarily made pregnant, and those who are carelessly given gravely disabled offspring. * Stephen D. Sugarman, Roget J. Traynor Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Torts-A Wider View * In his crisp, engaging analysis of thwarted procreative endeavors,...Dov Fox reframes this intimate field of loss from "reproductive disappointment" to "birth wrongs."...[He] offers solid, sensible solutions at just the moment that technology is ramping up with innovations (gene-editing) that require a coherent legal basis to see procreation into the future. * Carol Sanger, Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, and author of About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in 21st Century America * Birth Rights and Wrongs probes what may prove to be the paradigmatic tort of the 21st century. * Catherine M. Sharkey, Crystal Eastman Professor of Law, New York University School of Law, and coauthor of Cases and Materials on the Law of Torts and Foundations of Tort Law * The most thorough and thoughtful exploration there is of the role of the common law in the era of controlled human reproduction. * Maxwell J. Mehlman, Distinguished University Professor, Arthur E. Petersilge Professor of Law and Director of the Law-Medicine Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and Professor of Biomedical Ethics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine * Birth Rights and Wrongs captures the reader from its first page...The book's coverage is comprehensive, its approach interdisciplinary, and its analysis provocative, in the best sense. This is a book for everyone interested in legal and social perspectives on conception, abortion, reproductive technology, pregnancy, and the selection of offspring traits. * Janet L. Dolgin, Jack and Freda Dicker Distinguished Professor of Law; Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University, Professor, Science Education, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and coauthor of Bioethics and the Law * Dov Fox guides the reader along a pathway to civil liability which has eluded acknowledgement in the courts and regulatory system...He offers illuminating and original arguments for recognizing claims for three distinct types of harm: procreation deprived, procreation imposed, and procreation confounded. Thoughtful and erudite, the volume provides an important contribution to this generation of public policy scholarship. * Robert L. Rabin, A. Calder Mackay Professor of Law, Stanford Law School, and author of Perspectives on Tort Law and Tort Law and Alternatives * We live in a brave new world of reproductive...twists, turns, and challenges that our parents and grandparents could not have anticipated. Stepping into the breach, Dov Fox offers novel and practical approaches for addressing the[se] conundrums...Engagingly written and carefully observed, Birth Rights and Wrongs is essential reading for the modern family. * Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law, and coauthor of Cases and Materials on Reproductive Rights and Justice * A bold and comprehensive examination of among the most vexing questions about law and reproduction. * I. Glenn Cohen, James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, Harvard University; author of Patients with Passports: Medical Tourism, Law, and Ethics * This book deserves all the praise that it is going to receive. * Khiara M. Bridges, Professor of Law and Professor of Anthropology, Boston University and author of The Poverty of Privacy Rights * Birth Rights and Wrongs ... will quickly become a standard in the field. * Mary Ziegler, Stearns Weaver Miller Professor of Law, Florida State University College of Law and author of After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate * [Fox] combines painstaking scholarship with visionary legal creativity to delineate a realistic pathway to reproductive justice. * Peter H. Schuck, Baldwin Professor of Law Emeritus, Yale Law School and author of One Nation Undecided: Clear Thinking About Five Hard Issues that Divide Us * The birth of life, a challenge for the ages, takes on new significance with the rise of egg freezing and embryo selection. With this promise comes the frightening risks of switched donors and botched sterilization. Fox's gripping narrative and crisp analysis help readers navigate the social, legal, and moral dimensions of this brave new world. * Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law and coauthor of Cases and Materials on Torts * An eye-opening and poignant indictment of how American law systematically neglects some of life's most heart-rending trespasses. Birth Rights and Wrongs leaves an indelible mark: provocative, jarring, and-ultimately-hopeful. Fox's astonishing breadth and rigor inform bold and decisive proposals for much-needed reform. * David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade * Fox has written a masterpiece: riveting, eloquent, and profoundly humane. * Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor of American Studies, University of Minnesota and author of Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness *
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About Dov Fox

Dov Fox is Professor of Law and Herzog Endowed Scholar at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he directs the Center for Health Law Policy & Bioethics. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Harvard College, Yale Law School, and the University of Oxford, where he received a doctorate in political philosophy. His NIH-funded research on translational medicine, genomic privacy, and the regulation of biotechnology has been featured in the
New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and the Today Show.
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