Emerging technologies open the prospect of extraordinary interventions on the human body. These may go beyond what is strictly necessary to sustain health and well-being. While responding to social and ethical challenges of such advances, the Law simultaneously faces the challenge of reflecting on the legitimacy to legislate and on whether the existing legal framework is appropriate to address the various concerns. In order to do so, it is crucial to establish clear legal definitions.
Precise distinctions between medical treatment, cosmetic interventions and human enhancement are intrinsically difficult to formulate. However, these are vital legal tools to determine what is regulated in other fields of law and whether there is room for a new legal field - Enhancement Law.
This paper provides a reflection on the relevance of establishing a legal definition of human enhancement and to what extent different legal fields and jurisdictions may warrant different understandings of such concept. It reviews a number of different and often divergent concepts and taxonomies of human enhancement and concludes with the proposal of a definition, understood as a conceptual tool for further debate concerning the necessity of specific regulatory activity directed at human enhancement technologies.
Assistant Professor in Health and Innovation Law, PhD, LLM, Centre for Information and Innovation Law, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
© 2012 Journal of Law, Information & Science and Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania.