194 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 37:2 2017]
opponents have attempted to “secularize” this criticism by rephrasing it as a need to respect human
“dignity”87 Francis Fukuyama, denounces Transhumanism as a threat to human essence itself, and
as such, to the legal rights to which humans are entitled.88 Fukuyama notes that the essence of
human equality is at the core of a liberal society, and that tampering with this “essence” would
jeopardize the legal status quo.89 Legal scholars Lori Andrews, George Annas, and Rosario Isasi
also espouse the idea that human rights attach to some essential aspect of biological “humanity”
as a justification to oppose Transhumanism and germline genetic engineering technologies.90
Other, more extreme arguments against the implementation of enhancement through genetic
engineering are that it will lead to the creation of a subspecies of human,91 the discrimination of
unmodified-humans by modified “humans,”92 eugenics, 93 and even the end of the human species
as we know it.94
However, the aforementioned bioethical-legal criticism of Transhumanism is outdated in
light of the recent permutation of Transhumanism from a “fringe movement”95 to a core set of
values embraced by mainstream society. Examples of this phenomenon are wide-ranging. A
Facebook page advertises96 a new “high-end” supplement offering the potential for longer life
without the need for a physician’s prescription.97 And this is just one product in the increasingly
expanding market for longevity products.98 Nootropics99—substances which purportedly have
cognitive-enhancing properties100—are becoming increasingly popular for uses ranging from the
87 See Andrews, Annas & Isasi,. supra note 13, at 152. One of the most persuasive criticisms against some
opponents of Transhumanism is their attempt to “devise rational arguments in defense of irrational taboos.” James
Hughes, Contradictions from the Enlightenment Roots of Transhumanism, 35 J. MED. PHILOS. 623, 625 (2010).
88 See Fukuyama, supra note 16.
90 Annas, Andrews & Isasi, supra note 13, at 153.
91Id. at 161-62.
92 Id. at 162.
93 Lisa C. Ikemoto, Disentangling Fact from Fiction: The Realities of Unequal Health Care Treatment: Article:
Race to Health: Racialized Discourses in a Transhuman World, 9 DEPAUL J. HEALTH CARE L. 1101, 1117 (2005).
94 Annas, Andrews & Isasi, supra note 13, at 153. The authors comment on the dangers of emerging biotechnologies
such as cloning and germline genetic modifications, and make reference to Nazi experiments which involved
unethical and atrocious experimentation to human subjects, to make an argument about the potential problems of
such technologies, and how they are a threat to human existence. Id.
95 Fukuyama, supra note 16, at 42.
96Elysium Health; About, FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/pg/elysiumhealth/about/?ref=page_internal (last
visited May 12, 2017) (on file with author).
97 Karen Weinraub, The Anti-Aging Pill, MIT TECH. REV. (Feb. 3, 2015),
98 MEHLMAN, supra note 48, at 23. The author notes that as of 2009, People in the United States spent over $45
billion per year on the anti-aging market Id. See also The Business of Longevity, ECONOMIST,
http://www.economist.com/events-conferences/americas/longevity (last visited Apr. 10, 2017).
99 See generally Wolfgang Forestl, Andreas Muhs, & Andrea Pfeifer, Cognitive Enhancers (Nootropics). Part 2:
Drugs Interacting With Enzymes, 33 J. OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, 547 (2013).
100 What constitutes a “nootropic” substance can range from simple coffee to obscure compounds such as “noopept.”
Olga Khazan, The Brain Bro, ATLANTIC (Oct. 2016), http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/10/the-
brain-bro/497546/; Mike Montgomery, Better, Stronger, Faster: Why Nootropics Will be Big Business In 2016,
FORBES (Jan. 19, 2016), http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemontgomery/2016/01/19/better-strongerfaster-why-
nootropics-will-be-big-business-in-2016/#7c0271a076cd. Nevertheless, some of these substances have been rejected
by the mainstream scientific community as not being proven to have cognitive-enhancing properties. Khazan, supra