Drummond and Cohen: Enforcement and Prosecutorial Restraint in the Transnational Trade in Human Eggs

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Susan G. Drummond (Osgoode Yall) and Sara R. Cohen (D2 Law LLP) have published Eloquent (In)action: Enforcement and Prosecutorial Restraint in the Transnational Trade in Human Eggs As Deep Ambivalence about the Law, 26 Can. J. of Women & the Law 206 (2014).  Here is the abstract:

This article approaches a piece of Canadian criminal legislation by analyzing the law’s extraterritorial effect and putting the law’s practical import within a mobile and global context—and from that perspective concludes that the domestic law is practically and morally impoverished. The law in question is section 7 of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA), which criminally prohibits the purchase, offer to purchase, and advertising for purchase of gametes from a donor or from a person acting on behalf of a donor. While large swathes of the AHRA were held to violate the division of powers in a 2010 Supreme Court reference, section 7 remains standing as valid federal legislation, though effectively almost never enforced. Some scholars, notably Francoise Baylis and Jocelyn Downie, urge more rigorous enforcement both within Canada and extraterritorially, drawing on common law principles that stretch the long law of Canadian penal statutes across national borders. Sara Cohen and Susan Drummond argue that not only is the extraterritorial reach of the Canadian executive drastically shorter than Baylis and Downie might wish, a growing and elite transnational reproductive traffic has outpaced and undermined the moral legitimacy of the law domestically. They argue that any well-founded policy aspirations behind section 7 are far more likely to be met with the repeal of section 7 in favour of an administrative regime for the regulation of reproductive technologies. The result would be less hypocritical and more democratic.

The full paper is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

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