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A harm-based perspective

Bioethics institute interview
Guido Pennings
Making babies in the 21st Century

Guido Pennings is a Professor of Bioethics at the University of Ghent, Belgium, and a member of the Task Force on Ethics and Law of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).

In this interview, he sets out his view that there is not an overwhelming right for children to know their biological heritage.

In explaining the reasons for his views, he explains that his perspective comes from a utilitarian viewpoint, meaning that he places emphasis on the consequences of actions and especially the reduction of harm.

This viewpoint is usually contrasted with a rights-based perspective, as we mentioned in Step 1.2 at the beginning of the course.

Underlying his views, is the principle of reproductive autonomy, which according to Professor Pennings, means we should support women and couples to make their own decisions about their families.

For discussion: Do you agree with Guido Pennings that parents should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to inform the child? In giving your views, please explain your reasons. For example, please say whether your views come from a utilitarian or rights-based perspective.

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Making Babies in the 21st Century

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