This article considers the scientific, legal, ethical, and social issues of the Brave New World of Biotechnology as they existed in 1976 and as they exist — interestingly — today. Central to these issues (e.g., in vitro fertilization, genetic planning) presented in historical context, is consideration of the extent to which freedom of scientific investigation should be allowed and even encouraged by the government. In order to shape normative standards of conduct from which ethical constructs can be developed and policy developed, scientific experimentation must be promoted and designed to safeguard the common good — this, by enhancing opportunities for more healthful living, strengthening the gene pool by combating disease, minimizing human suffering and containing health care expenditures. Indeed, this course of behaviour should be recognized as not only in the Nation’s best interests, but a valid and efficacious ethic to embrace. It is only by recognition of the freedom of scientific inquiry that a common language of scientific humanism can ever be fostered.
George P. Smith II, Manipulating the Genetic Code: Jurisprudential Conundrums, 64 GEO. L J. 697 (1976).