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Abstract

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law a policy rider forestalling the therapeutic modification of the human germ line. The rider, motivated by the science’s potential unethical ends, is only the most recent instance in which the legislature cut short the ongoing national conversation on the acceptability of a developing science. This essay offers historical perspective on what bills were proposed and passed surrounding four other then-developing scientific breakthroughs—Recombinant DNA, in vitro fertilization, Cloning, Stem Cells—to better analyze how Congress is, and should, regulate this exciting and promising science.