While fetal tissue implants have the potential to offer relief to several million Americans, these two scenarios are examples of the many legal and ethical issues surrounding the technology. Currently, the use of fetal tissue is loosely regulated by an assortment of laws, many of which were enacted before the therapeutic use of fetal tissue was even conceived as a possibility. At the time many of the regulations governing fetal tissue use were developed, the primary goal of the regualtions was to prevent the exploitation and sale of aborted fetuses following the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. Had current technology been foreseen, different regulations certainly would have been proposed. The purpose of this note is to examine the various legal and ethical issues raised by fetal tissue transplantation and to suggest regulations resolving these issues. Included in this discussion will be an analysis of possible constitutional challenges to these regulations.
Note, Fetal Tissue Transplantation: Regulating the Medical Hope for the Future, 4 J.L. & Health 57 (1989-1990)