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Potential persons and the welfare of the (potential) child test.

Walker, S. E.P., 2014. Potential persons and the welfare of the (potential) child test. Medical Law International, 14 (3), 157 - 171.

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Potential Persons and the Welfare of the Child Test.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1177/0968533214550117


This paper considers the theoretical basis of ‘the welfare of the child’ as it exists in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended by the 2008 Act of the same name). It will be argued that potential persons, that is persons who do not yet exist, have no claims, interests or standing that can restrict the actions of actual persons. This claim will be based upon the necessity of existence before things can be said to affect a person. As persons are the subject for whom good and bad apply, actions which establish the pre-conditions for their existence cannot be subjected to considerations of the effect on the potential person. This is because potential persons are not affected by actions, but are the consequence of actions. Prospective parents, for example, should not be prohibited from having disabled offspring on the basis of the effect on the child, as different decisions relating to that child will change which persons exist, and thus the necessary pre-conditions for value will change. Based upon this logical framework it will be argued that only the interests of actual persons can constrain the actions of those involved in reproduction. Thus, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act’s formulation of the welfare test must be repealed and only the interests of prospective parents and other actually existing people should be capable of constraining reproduction.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Genetic; Person; Embryo; Existence; Welfare Test
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:31080
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:30 Jul 2018 09:40
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:12


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