The Biotech Battlefield

Foreign Affairs, April 25, 2022,

San Diego Legal Studies Paper 22-004

8 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2022 Last revised: 25 Jul 2023

See all articles by Dov Fox

Dov Fox

University of San Diego: School of Law

Date Written: 2022


Advances in medicine and technology stand poised to transform the way that humans relate to each other and to nature, even our own. Regimes like China are already enlisting the life sciences to implement troubling programs of biometric surveillance and population control. The bioethics wars are here. America isn’t ready. Democracies are equipped to deliberate on the ethics of cutting-edge approaches to public health, climate change, and biodiversity. But for the first time since 1974, the country lacks even a national authority to guide citizens and policymakers on the moral and social implications of interventions like genetically editing mosquitos to combat disease, or babies for COVID-19 immunity. Hard debates about values and consequences that spill over across borders -- that's precisely where autocracies often fall short. The United States must lead on bioethics abroad by shoring up the institutions that govern experimental research and clinical practice. Now is the time for bold measures to confront the controversies of our time.

Keywords: techno-democracy, techno-autocracy, family planning, artificial intelligence, biometric surveillance, privacy, discrimination, informed consent

Suggested Citation

Fox, Dov, The Biotech Battlefield (2022). Foreign Affairs, April 25, 2022,, San Diego Legal Studies Paper 22-004, Available at SSRN:

Dov Fox (Contact Author)

University of San Diego: School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
United States
(619) 260-4600 (Phone)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics