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Extent: 298 pp



Regulating Autonomy
Sex, Reproduction and Family
First Edition
Edited by: Shelley Day Sclater, Fatemeh Ebtehaj, Emily Jackson, Martin Richards    

These essays explore the nature and limits of individual autonomy in law, policy and the work of regulatory agencies. Authors ask searching questions about the nature and scope of the regulation of 'private' lives, from intimacies, personal relationships and domestic lives to reproduction. They question the extent to which the law does, or should, protect individual autonomy. Recent rapid advances in the development of new technologies - particularly those concerned with human genetics and assisted reproduction - have generated new questions (practical, social, legal and ethical) about how far the state should intervene in individual decision making. Is there an inevitable tension between individual liberty and the common good? How might a workable balance between the public and the private be struck? How, indeed, should we think about 'autonomy'?

The essays explore the arguments used to create and maintain the boundaries of autonomy - for example, the protection of the vulnerable, public goods of various kinds, and the maintenance of tradition and respect for cultural practices. Contributors address how those boundaries should be drawn and interventions justified. How are contemporary ethical debates about autonomy constructed, and what principles do they embody? What happens when those principles become manifest in law?

Shelley Day Sclater has been a lawyer and academic social scientist and now works as a freelance writer and researcher. She was Professor of Psychology and Law at the University of East London.
Fatemeh Ebtehaj is an associate member of the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge.
Emily Jackson is a Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and a member the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and the British Medical Association Medical Ethics Committee.
Martin Richards is Emeritus Professor of Family Research at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge.

March 2009
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