Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Recent advances in genetic and reproductive technology broaden the capacity of parents to make crucial life decisions for their children. In light of the current technological revolution, the scope of parental decision making seems to reach into the realm of embryonic screening and genetic selection. But can embryos be considered children? While labeling embryos as potential children might offer some protections for parents who wish to screen out harmful diseases, the label poses a serious threat to women's somewhat tenuous abortion rights. How then can parental autonomy rights and abortion rights coexist? Is there a constitutional test that protects both interests?

After examining the need for a parental right to protect the bodily integrity of future children, this Note concludes that such a right already exists. More importantly, the parental right defined by this Note compliments existing abortion rights, instead of undermining them. By moving away from reproductive-rights based arguments and focusing on the language of well-known parental autonomy cases, this Note defines the constitutional parameters of embryonic screening and genetic selection, concluding that disease prevention - unlike cosmetic selection - is a constitutionally suitable purpose for employing such techniques.