Proceeding Carefully: Assisted Human Reproduction Policy in Canada
Public understanding of science (Bristol, England) 2010 Jul; 19(4): 420-34
The Canadian Act Respecting Assisted Human Reproduction and Related Research (AHR Act), which came into effect in 2004, was the culmination of fifteen years of policy development in this often controversial field. Drawing from a series of semi-structured elite interviews and extensive documentary research, we examine the path to policy for the AHR Act. We identified several influences on the Act's development, including: (1) feminist-informed activism which found a balance between rejecting the medical model of reproduction and instituting protections against the commodifying potential of reproductive technologies; (2) Canada's proximity to the United States (and its contrasting structures and stances); (3) the role of professional elites in supporting or resisting the proposed regulations; and (4) the tensions between federal and provincial jurisdiction in the Canadian federalist state. The path to this outcome provides an illuminating study of the tensions between internal and external pressures in the policy process.
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