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In the next several years, the new reproductive technologies will, for better or worse, affect the civil law governing society's most basic relationships and the rights and duties that accompany them. As lawmakers deliberate over the social choices required by technological developments in human reproduction, the soundness of their decisions will depend on their understanding of the good that is at risk, and on their commitment to the law's role in defending it. In view of the fundamental nature of the societal relationships implicated, who will deny that much currently depends on the quality of lawmakers' decisions?

This article draws on the resources of the Roman Catholic tradition to assist in establishing the basis for a sound legal response to the new technologies. In Roman Catholic circles, discussion thus far has been dedicated, in the main, to placing the facts of the new technologies in view, and to stating and applying principles relevant to their moral evaluation, but this article will move from the moral implications of the new technologies per se, to the question of society's response to them through the enactment of civil law.



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