My research focuses on the ethical, social and political impacts of emerging technologies. I explain how technology disrupts norms, values, and social practices. My work pays special attention to the ways in which technology can be developed to achieve justice for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children, and the elderly.
My primary research program stems from my dissertation, "Growing Pains: The Family in the Era of Technology," where I examine the family institution with a particular aim of determining the best social arrangements for bearing and rearing children in the context of emerging reproductive technologies. My second research program focuses on the ethical issues surrounding the design and development of artificial intelligence.
Journal of Medical Ethics (2020)
Ectogenesis (artificial womb technology) is currently being studied for the purpose of improving neonatal care. I contend that this technology ought to be pursued in order to address a more pressing problem: the rate of unintended pregnancies. However, ectogenesis threatens to disrupt the natural link between procreation and parenthood that is normally thought to generate rights and obligations for biological parents. I argue that there remains only one potentially viable account of parenthood: the voluntarist account. The problem is that this account mistakenly presumes a patriarchal divide between procreation and parenthood. By reframing procreation and parenthood from a feminist perspective, I argue that gestational motherhood is a robust moral obligation that ought to be voluntarily undertaken. If this were the case, all gestational mothers would be, by definition, willing mothers. To make this happen, I argue that ectogenesis technology must be a widely-available reproductive option.
In July 2020 (new date TBD), I will be completing a one-month visiting research residency at the Brocher Foundation in Switzerland. The goal of this non-profit foundation is to encourage interdisciplinary research into medical research and biotechnologies. During my time as a resident, I aim to collaborate with other experts as well as international organizations and NGOs based in Geneva, including the WHO, on issues concerning the social implications of emerging assisted-reproductive technologies (ARTs).
Investigate the injustices associated with the hegemony of the natural nuclear family schema.
Investigate how procreation fails to be considered an importantly gendered concept
Question how emerging ARTs may function to serve, or complicate, goals to make procreation and parenthood more gender egalitarian
Analyze how ARTs may negatively affect the perceived value of adoptive parent-child relationships
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Unmet Needs: Gender Injustice in Reproductive Health Infrastructure
The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for States to ensure universal access to reproductive health, specifically by increasing the use of modern contraception methods. However, I argue that this proposed strategy is likely to perpetuate gender injustice by disproportionately burdening women with moral responsibility for family planning. Alternatively, I believe that efforts to disrupt the gender bias in reproductive infrastructure should be prioritized, and more emphasis should be placed on the research and development of male contraceptives. However, I argue that "invisible" forms of male contraceptives like birth control pills and implants should be eschewed in light of potentially introducing a new form of gender oppression. In anticipation of these concerns, I investigate how elements of 'visibility' or 'communicability' could be incorporated into the design of male contraceptives.
Ageism, Autonomy & Dementia: Person-Centered Care Reconsidered
While modern medicine has improvided the ability to prolong one's life, an indirect consequence of this is a demographic shift towards an aging population. As the number of individuals affected by dementia continues to escalate, there is an increasing demand to determine the best practices for providing care. One framework in particular, namely person-centered care, has garnered international attention. This framework suggests that caregivers should strive to preserve continuity between the premorbid and current identity of the individual with dementia. I contend that person-centered care places too much emphasis on an individual’s premorbid identity and, as a result, harbors an implicit and pernicious ageism by systematically discounting the possibility of changing preferences. By drawing a relevantly similar comparison to childrearing, I argue that person-centered care ought to leave room for the evolution of an individual's preferences and values.