Penn Bioethics Seminar Series (PBS): Naomi Scheinerman, PhD
12:00pm - 1:00pm • via Zoom
Meaningful Engagement in Regulating Biotechnologies
through Mini-Public Deliberation
Naomi Scheinerman, PhD, Fellow in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genetics and Genomics, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, PSOM
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Designed to manage risks and ensure the safety of industry’s innovations, regulatory agencies have long been objects of interest for bioethicists due to the significant power and influence they have over new and emerging biotechnologies’ impact on people’s lives. However, agencies’ ability to regulate effectively suffer from lack of adequate pathways for inclusivity due to expert-based design, captured interests, and barriers to entry during the comment process. I argue that this notorious “democratic deficit” can be reduced by importing a recent institutional innovation called “mini-publics” (bodies of randomly selected individuals) within the regulatory process earlier in rulemaking in order to add needed diversity of views and lived experiences. In particular, in accordance with the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology’s purported interest in engaging the public, this procedural innovation can help the agencies under its purview, such as the FDA, USDA, and EPA achieve their missions of creating considered judgment of risks and values of gene editing applications.
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