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Private Choices, Public Consequences: Reproductive Technology and the New Ethics of Conception, Pregnancy, and Family

In a country founded on the principle of protecting the rights of individuals, perhaps no personal right is more private or precious than the right to bear or beget a child. Uniquely, however, it is the one individual right that can never be practiced in solitude and without forever altering the lives of others.

Private Choices, Public Consequences examines the legal, ethical, and moral dilemmas of new reproductive alternatives, not only from the perspective of the experts but also from the real-life experiences of the people who have struggled with complex decisions.

Among these personal stories are: The daughter of legendary Dallas Cowboy football coach Tom Landry who had to decide whether to begin chemotherapy to battle her own cancer discovered during pregnancy or postpone treatment to protect her fetus; the young parents who wished to donate the organs of their doomed baby born without a brain to save the lives of newborns needing organs but could not because of legal proceedings initiated by strangers; the missionaries and abortion opponents who became spokespersons in support of fetal tissue research; the Catholic grandmother who, as her daughter's surrogate, gave birth to her own grandchildren. As Fenwick acknowledged: "For all the people who trusted me with the accounts of such intimate decisions, I thank you for your generosity. Your personal stories illuminate the issues and allowed me to write the book as I felt it should be written, stimulating both the minds and hearts of readers."

Well-researched, flawlessly documented, and powerfully balanced, Private Choices, Public Consequences will open your eyes to both the amazing reproductive choices some people are making today and the far-reaching public consequences of their decisions.

At a time when the rancor surrounding reproductive issues has only increased, this is the book that deserves to be read. Wise judgments require information, and when families have access to thoughtful, well-informed guidance, Fenwick came to the conclusion after interviewing countless doctors, bioethicists, lawyers, religious leaders, politicians, and everyday people that, "...the responsibility for deciding reproductive matters can be entrusted to no one better than the families that will live with the consequences of their decisions."