Human Reproduction And The Law LAW4024
- Academic Session: 2022-23
- School: School of Law
- Credits: 30
- Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
- Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
- Available to Visiting Students: Yes
- Available to Erasmus Students: Yes
This course deals with the legal and ethical problems associated with human reproduction and the role which medicine has to play in that process. Issues considered include: abortion and its legal regulation; assisted conception and access to reproductive technologies; surrogacy; the legal and ethical status of contraceptive techniques including sterilisation and possible situations of conflict between pregnant women and their medical advisors.
The seminar programme will run on Tuesdays from1100-1300 for fifteen weeks in semesters one and two.
Requirements of Entry
Entry to LLB Honours or permitted visiting students
Human Reproduction and the Law (Semester 1) LAW4143 - this course is offered only to visiting students and forms the first semester of Human Reproduction and the Law LAW4024.
An essay on a set question (3,000 words). The essay accounts for 30% of the final mark. Due 2nd semester An unseen written examination (3 hours) accounting for 70% of the final mark. The examination will require students to answer 3 essay style questions April/May exam diet.
Main Assessment In: April/May
Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable
Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below.
This course deals with the legal and ethical problems associated with human reproduction and the role which medicine has to play in that process. Issues considered include: the rights and wrongs of abortion and legal regulation thereof, assisted conception and access to reproductive technologies, surrogacy, the legal and ethical status of contraceptive techniques including sterilisation, and possible conflict between pregnant women and fetuses. Underlying these particular issues will be questions such as fitness to parent, whether there is or ought to be a right to reproduce, and ethical, social, economic and practical limitations on such a right. A comparative approach is a strong element of this course.
Intended Learning Outcomes of Course
By the end of this course students should be able:
- to identify the current law which regulates human reproductive practices both in the UK and abroad;
- to evaluate and constructively criticise those laws;
- to formulate possible reforms of the law;
- to evaluate and constructively criticise those proposals.
As regards each section of the course, by the end of week 1, students should understand the theoretical underpinnings of rights and human rights discourse in respect of human reproduction. They should also be able to understand how the law regulates becoming a parent, particularly with regard to access to reproductive technologies
By the end of week 3, students should understand the various methods of assisted conception and their legal regulation. Students should also understand the ethical implications of assisted conception, particularly regarding access to such techniques.
By the end of week 5, students should be able to understand the meaning of surrogacy and the law in the UK regarding it. Students should also understand the arguments for and against surrogacy.
By the end of week 6, students should understand the ethical arguments for and against the use of contraceptives. They should also understand the current legal regulation governing access to contraceptive information and services and be able to suggest possible reforms of the law.
By the end of week 7, students should be able to list the various methods of sterilisation and should understand the UK position, particularly concerning sterilisation of the mentally handicapped young person or adult. The students should also broadly understand the approach of other jurisdictions, such as Canada.
By the end of week 9, students should understand the definition of abortion, the current practices and legal regulation in the UK. They should understand the ethical arguments for and against abortion and be able to propose reforms of the law. They should also be familiar with the approach of other jurisdictions to abortion, particularly the USA, and be able constructively to criticise and compare these approaches with the UK position.
By the end of week 10, students should be able to understand the arguments for and against embryo research and the ethical underpinnings of current practice. They should also be able to understand the role of the law in regulating these practices and to propose reforms.
By the end of week 12, students should be able to understand the legal response to particular situations in which conflicts may appear to arise between pregnant women and foetuses. Students should be able to understand the approach of UK and USA law.
By the end of week 13, students should be able to understand the current law in UK and Europe in respect of pre-natal and pre-conception injury and of wrongful birth actions, particularly with regard to compensation, and to propose reforms in this area.
By the end of week 14, students should understand the legal basis of wrongful birth actions in the UK and be able constructively to criticise and compare the approach of other jurisdictions. Students should understand the arguments for and against the acceptance of such actions by the courts.
By the end of the course, students should understand how the law operates to control human reproduction and how the approaches to particular issues by different jurisdictions demonstrate the variety of ethical and social responses to this subject.
Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits
Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.