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Examining Metaphors in Biopolitical Discourse
Unformatted Document Text:  Metaphors in Biopolitics, page 22 announced on its website that it was offering gender selection as part of its pre- implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) package, the director responded to critics that he was not playing God, but rather, “helping nature” and “serving the marketplace” (Johnson, 15 June 2006). Critics invoked the metaphor of playing God throughout discourse, with some critics associating designer babies with Nazi Germany. The New York Post ran a headline about “Uber Babies” noting that detractors likened the practice of selecting an embryo for the baby’s gender to Nazi Germany because unwanted embryos may be frozen, sold or tossed away (Edelman, 4 October 2009). Selection of embryos “goes down a horrible path” that one lawyer likened to the Holocaust. In contrast to references to Hitler and Brave New World, metaphors associated designer babies with commodities: something produced, procured and purchased. Clinics were called “banks” where parents “place an order” and “shop” for an embryo. One colorful example described a clinic as treating “children as commodities” that can be “picked off the shelf” (“Babies by design,” 13 January 2007). Another writer said selecting an embryo is as easy as “choosing a Gucci purse” (“Designer babies a disturbing trend,” 9 October 2006). Coverage also invoked metaphors of “spare parts,” not unlike a search for mechanical pieces to outfit an old automobile, such as an antique headlamp. Discourse over spare parts appeared particularly in discourse about “savior siblings.” In some instances, a couple selects a healthy embryo through PGD in order to assist an ill sibling. Stem cells are harvested from the newborn’s placenta to save the life of a brother or sister. A popular novel and subsequent Hollywood film called My Sister’s Keeper added another dimension when the fictional savior sibling, who had already donated blood marrow, is slated to relinquish a kidney and asks the courts to intervene on her behalf.

Authors: Coleman, Cynthia-Lou. and Ritchie, L. David.
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Metaphors in Biopolitics, page 
announced on its website that it was offering gender selection as part of its pre-
implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) package, the director responded to critics that he 
was not playing God, but rather, “helping nature” and “serving the marketplace” 
(Johnson, 15 June 2006). 
Critics invoked the metaphor of playing God throughout discourse, with some 
critics associating designer babies with Nazi Germany. The New York Post ran a headline 
about “Uber Babies” noting that detractors likened the practice of selecting an embryo 
for the baby’s gender to Nazi Germany because unwanted embryos may be frozen, sold 
or tossed away (Edelman, 4 October 2009). Selection of embryos “goes down a horrible 
path” that one lawyer likened to the Holocaust. In contrast to references to Hitler and 
Brave New World, metaphors associated designer babies with commodities: something 
produced, procured and purchased. Clinics were called “banks” where parents “place an 
order” and “shop” for an embryo. One colorful example described a clinic as treating 
“children as commodities” that can be “picked off the shelf” (“Babies by design,” 13 
January 2007). Another writer said selecting an embryo is as easy as “choosing a Gucci 
purse” (“Designer babies a disturbing trend,” 9 October 2006). 
Coverage also invoked metaphors of “spare parts,” not unlike a search for 
mechanical pieces to outfit an old automobile, such as an antique headlamp. Discourse 
over spare parts appeared particularly in discourse about “savior siblings.” In some 
instances, a couple selects a healthy embryo through PGD in order to assist an ill sibling. 
Stem cells are harvested from the newborn’s placenta to save the life of a brother or 
sister. A popular novel and subsequent Hollywood film called My Sister’s Keeper added 
another dimension when the fictional savior sibling, who had already donated blood 
marrow, is slated to relinquish a kidney and asks the courts to intervene on her behalf. 

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