The Public Interest

“Making babies” revisited

Leon R. Kass

Winter 1979

SEVEN years ago in the pages of this journal, in an article entitled “Making Babies-the New Biology and the ‘Old’ Morality” (Number 26, Winter 1972), I explored some of the moral and political questions raised by projected new powers to intervene in the processes of human reproduction. I concluded that it would be foolish to acquire and use these powers. The questions have since been debated in “bioethieal” circles and in college classrooms, and they have received intermittent attention in the popular press and in sensational novels and movies. This past year they have gained the media limelight with the Del Zio suit against Columbia University, and more especially with the birth last summer in Britain of Louise Brown, the first identified human baby born following conception in the laboratory.

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