The dimensions, scope and limits of reproductive autonomy remain largely uncharted. Nevertheless, besides the traditional rights of freedom from state intervention in human reproduction and of access to contraception and pregnancy termination, the debate on international and constitutional law in this area suggests that there is also a right to fulfil the wish for a child and that this right incorporates access to reproductive medicine. As the beginning of life, particularly pregnancy and birth, have become increasingly medicalised, the decisions which need to be made have become more numerous and more differentiated. Comprehensive pre-natal diagnostic techniques, possible in utero
interventions in support of the foetus and a whole range of obstetric procedures all raise new questions about reproductive autonomy in which the uncertain legal status of the foetus and the physical dimensions of pregnancy are key factors. The lecture examines the shifts observable in the ethical and legal discourse in this area and subjects them to critical review.
Andrea Büchler is Professor for Private and Comparative Law at the Law Institute, Associate Dean for International Affairs of the Law Faculty, and Director of the Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Legal Studies at the University of Zurich. Since 2016 she is the President of the National Advisory Committee of Biomedical Ethics.