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Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Bioethics and Medical Ethics

Environmental law

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Constitutionalizing Nature's Law: Dignity And The Regulation Of Biotechnology In Switzerland, James Toomey Jan 2020

Constitutionalizing Nature's Law: Dignity And The Regulation Of Biotechnology In Switzerland, James Toomey

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

The Swiss Constitution was amended by referendum in 1992 to include two unique provisions: Article 119, which imposes strict limits on genetic and reproductive technologies in humans in order to protect ‘human dignity’, and Article 120, which commits the Swiss federal government to limiting genetic technologies in non-human species on the basis of the ‘dignity of the creature’. This article analyzes the role of ‘dignity’ as a limit on biotechnologies in the Swiss constitutional order. It concludes that the understanding of dignity the constitution embraces codifies a contestable metaphysical theory of value at the constitutional level. Specifically, the Swiss constitutional …