Monday, February 28, 2022
Sonia Rankin on "Would You Make it to the Future? Teaching Race in an Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Law Classroom"
Sonia M. Gipson Rankin has posted a forthcoming work titled Would You Make It to the Future? Teaching Race in an Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Law Classroom on SSRN. This work is forthcoming in the Family Law Quarterly. The abstract previews:
Would you make it to the future? For the last five years, I have started my Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) lecture in Family Law with this question. Students take the query seriously. They ponder their lived experiences such as home training, medical history, education, financial well-being, personality traits, work ethic, and social graces when determining if they would be the “model DNA” someone might select in a future society. The good-natured jokes about being nearsighted, having a pitiful jump shot, and wearing orthodontic headgear turn reflective when someone raises the question: would someone in the future select my race?
In this paper, Section I describes how race connects to family law. Section II explains cognitive dissonance theory, color blindness ideology, and the relationship of these theories to racial inequality in family law and how this connects to assisted reproductive technologies. Section III provides the framework for race-centered learning outcomes, a relevant rubric for reflection papers, and examples of case law and legislation that addresses race and ART. Section IV concludes by addressing how these skills and assessments in our family law curricula can impact systemic change in the practice of family law and the legal academy.
The article concludes:
Legal education must be at the forefront of assisted reproductive technology. Our students will serve be crafters and litigators of ART contracts and decisions, policymakers and drafters of legislation, and will hold the hands of clients planning the biggest decisions of their futures. Showing students distinctions in family law shows the academy is responsive to realties in the practice of law. Race can serve as the first way to unpack cognitive dissonance. Professors must show the fallacies in the law so students can learn how to use their agency to critique the law and be excellent advocates for their clients. A racial cognitive dissonance lens allows students to review the impact of all the law, given the role of technology in the law that did not exist when the law was being formed. Understanding cognitive dissonance and cultural competency can help reduce legal issues in family law and ART.
A tagline for Gattaca [a "1997 science fiction film [depicting] a future society that uses reproductive technology and genetic engineering to produce genetically enhanced human beings"] states, “There is no gene for the human spirit.” There is a part of our lived journey that cannot be captured by DNA nor contract law but can only be bettered through our interactions with each other.