Juliet Tizzard

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Juliet Tizzard in 2010

Juliet Tizzard is head of policy and communications at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA),[1] a non-departmental Government body which, amongst other things, licenses and monitors all human embryo research being conducted in the UK. She is associated with the libertarian and anti-environmentalist LM network having been a columnist for Living Marxism. She has also written for Spiked[2], written for and appeared at various events for the Institute of Ideas [3], and contributed to a publication of the Pro-Choice Forum[4].

Current & Recent Roles

Since October 2013 Tizzard has been the Director of strategy and corporate affairs at the HFEA. She has also been head of policy and communications at HFEA since August 2011 and was head of policy from June 2008. According to Tizzard's linked in profile these roles have involved: developing the media relations and communications strategy, including digital and social media, developing evidence-based policy development in assisted reproduction; public consultations; horizon scanning; scientific and ethical advice; and stakeholder engagement. She is also chair the HFEA's Executive Licensing Panel which considers licence applications from clinics and laboratories[5]. As head of Policy she was also involved in 'running public consultations and scientific horizon scanning; overseeing scientific and ethical advice to the Authority; leading stakeholder engagement; taking part in business planning and corporate strategy development'[6]. Prior to this Tizzard was Deputy Head of Ethics at the British Medical Association (BMA), where she was responsible for 'policy and ethics advice and lobbying on assisted reproduction, abortion and organ donation'[7].


Background

Tizzard studied at at the University of Sheffield (1991 – 1994), achieving a BA in English Literature. This was followed with study at Kings College London, where she gained an MA in Medical Ethics and Law (1996 – 1998). Following this Tizzard became director of the Progress Educational Trust where she started as the Administrator in April 1998. The Trust was established to promote the benefits of reproductive and genetic science and 'believes that reproductive and genetic technologies have much to offer'.[8] At the Progress Educational Trust, Tizzard established, and was editor-in-chief of, BioNews - the Progress Educational Trust's free weekly digest of news. This has been sponsored variously by SmithKline Beecham (in 1999-2000) and AstraZeneca and covers topics such as IVF, cloning, embryo research, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), gene therapy and prenatal genetic diagnosis. She remained as the Director of PET until August 2004, at which point her linkedin profile indicates she had a 3 year gap in employment[9], and she did not write another article for BioNews again until 2014.

LM links

Between 1998-2000 Tizzard wrote 3 articles for Living Marxism and LM magazine, linking her to the LM network.The LM network argued in 1994 'for interfering with nature at every opportunity in order to improve the human condition' via infertility treatment and genetic engineering.[10] LM's science editor John Gillott worked for the Genetic Interest Group which worked closely with PROGRESS and both Gillott and Tizzard have been on the staff of the online clinical genetics resource Genepool. As well as contributing articles to LM, Tizzard has also contributed to the LM network's later fronts: Spiked, and the Institute of Ideas (IoI). She also wrote a chapter for the IoI publication, Designer Babies: Where Should We Draw The Line?[11]

Against Nature (1997)

Prior to joining the Progress Educational Trust, Tizzard had also appeared in the Channel 4 TV series Against Nature (1997), which represented environmentalists as Nazis responsible for death and deprivation in the Third World, and argued that germline gene therapy and human cloning will liberate humanity from nature. Subsequent investigations revealed that certain programme makers and several key contributors to the series, including Tizzard, had been closely involved with a magazine called LM and the LM network. The links included featuring leading members of the network, such as Frank Furedi, John Gillott and Tizzard in the programme[12]. In addition the assistant director Eve Kay-Kreizman (also known as Eve Kay and as Eve Anderson) was involved with the RCP as one of the principal coordinators and is married to James Heartfield, who helped write the RCP's manifesto.

Views

Media Presence (1995-2015)

Tizzard appears 36 times in a Nexis search of media presence, with her earliest appearance in 1995. She has been quoted alongside others with links to the network such as Alastair Kent and John Gillott of Genetic Interest Group. The main subject area she is referenced on relates to genetic screening, particularly surrounding the issue of 'saviour siblings', followed by issues surrounding fertility, egg and sperm donations and stem cell research. She frequently speaks against regulation, arguing that people should be allowed to make whatever re-productive choice they feel is right. Regulation that is passed or upheld is often portrayed by Tizzard as the result of extremist lobby-groups such as pro-life groups, or compared with an emotive scenario in an effort simplify the ethical debate to a 'black and white' decision. This position can serve to obscure the complex debate surrounding the potential use of such technology for screening for 'disabilty' and how society's negative social construction of disability could lead to regulation (and pro-creational choices) favouring screening against all forms of perceived disability. Moreover, it ignores the distortions that could be introduced as a result of de-regulation which could led to subsequent commmercialisation of technologies, whether through the public or private spheres.

Anti-Precautionary Principle

Tizzard also appears to reject the need to consider what influence regulation of a new technology may have on people's future reproductive choices, basing her argument on current norms, which seems to allign to the network's rejection of the precautionary principle. For example, when considering 'preimplantation':

Only women who know that they already have breast cancer - or any other serious genetic disorder - in their family have shown interest in preimplantation diagnosis. They may have seen female relatives suffer or die from the disease and may face the prospect of developing it themselves. Such women make the decision whether to opt for preimplantation diagnosis or not by balancing up two considerations: the desire for a child and the wish that it is free from a disease that has devastated their family. This is a good treatment for women who know they are at risk of having a child with an inherited genetic disorder. Cries of eugenics from the anti-abortion lobby will only limit its availability for those who could benefit from it[13]

Anti-regulation

In a letter correspondence to the Guardian relating to embryo screening, Tizzard argues that new techniques are being stifled by regulation, that the ethical debates are ahead of the science and questions whether anyone has used embryo screening frivolously in the ten years it has been used. However, such an argument appears to ignore that existing regulation controls current use, so a lack of frivolous use in and of itself is not necessarily an argument for de-regulation:

Ethics and regulation are not lagging behind genetic science. They're very much ahead of the game. You imply that the technique is another step towards designer babies. But you don't explain what this mythical 'designer baby' is or how pre-implantation screening takes us one step closer to creating it. Embryo screening has been with us for nearly a decade: can you point to anyone who has used it frivolously? The process is already subject to strict controls. Now the HFEA is considering whether to control it further by restricting availability. But I don't believe they should decide who gets PGD and who doesn't. We are all quite responsible enough to make our own reproductive decisions. The trouble starts not when we have reproductive choice, but when politicians and regulators stop trusting us to exercise it responsibly. Yours, Juliet Tizzard[14]


Writing for LM (1998-2000)

Tizzard wrote two articles for LM between 1998-2000, writing on reproductive treatments and technologies such as IVF and cloning. The arguments Tizzard uses are often used by other members of the network, for example:

Anti-moralism and Regulation

Writing for LM Tizzard argues that regulation of IVF treatment which seeks to consider the child’s future welfare actually leads to a moral investigation of parents and an intrusion of the state into decisions which should be private and personal:

The law dictates that doctors must take account of the welfare of the future child before beginning IVF treatment. Since no child exists at the time of the first consultation with the doctor, assessing the 'welfare of the child' really amounts to scrutinising the would-be parents to see whether a child in their care would be properly looked after. The law's declared aim of looking out for the interests of children may appear an admirable one. But the consequence of the legislation is to legitimise the moral inspection of patients' lives[15]

Society is anti-technology

Tizzard also argues that the proposed regulation of IVF treatment represents a trend in society which sees technology as something negative and that the idea that nature can be tamed should be championed not maligned:

The bizarre idea that medical technology should only be used to restore natural processes flies in the face of reality. Particularly in reproductive technology, the trend in the second half of the twentieth century has been not to mirror nature, but to override it. New contraceptive devices and abortion techniques were welcomed by women as methods for avoiding precisely what nature would otherwise impose upon them. Here, nature was considered something to be conquered at all costs, not something to be respected. Now this positive attitude to technology is becoming less widespread, with worrying consequences for those at the giving and receiving end of fertility treatment[16]

Managing Risk

Similarly in an LM Commentary Tizzard seeks to downplay the risk of cloning whilst assuming it will almost inevitably be beneficial:

Someone… will succeed with human cloning. But is this something we should worry about? Cloning is unlikely to do the world much harm. Far from damaging mankind, it has the potential to positively help it. The Roslin Institute, where Dolly was born, plans to use nuclear transfer technology to produce animals with human genes, like the recently announcement about Polly the sheep. Such animals can be used to produce medicines for human use, such as blood clotting agents for haemophiliacs. Other research possibilities include creating cloned human embryos and culturing cells from them that can be used to treat diseases such as Parkinson's in adults[17]

Anti-Science and the precautionary principle

Tizzard again concludes that any rejection of cloning, or resistance to it from society, is indicative of a society that is irrational and anti-science, whilst assuming cloning will surely be an overall benefit to humanity:

The irrational discussion around cloning leaves the impression that science in general, and reproductive biology in particular, brings us nothing but trouble and strife. Meanwhile, the idea that science can benefit mankind by treating, or even preventing, disease is smothered by the hysteria. [18]

Similarly, in an event for the Pro-Choice Forum held at Kent University in 1997, Tizzard questions the application of the precautionary principle in fertility treatment decisions involving the welfare of the child:

Is there a difference between assessing the welfare of an existing human being and assessing the welfare of something that does not even exist? You could say it is the same, but I think it throws up some problems. It requires contemplating a future scenario that may never arrive.[19]


Writing for BioNews (1999-Present)

Word cloud using list of titles to articles published by Juliet Tizzard for BioNews, created on the wordle website, 4 March 2015.

As of March 2015 Tizzard has written over 200 articles for BioNews. This includes 19 on 'cloning', 16 on 'embryo' research, 15 on 'IVF', 14 on 'stem cell' research, and 11 on 'genes' and 'genetics', amongst others[20].

Cloning

Prior to her role as head of the HFEA Tizzard wrote a number of articles for BioNews on the merits of cloning and defending the technique from 'media hostility' which she argues has held up research in the area due to an unrealistic 'slippery slope' argument:

The idea that because something can happen, it will inevitably happen seems, on the face of it, to be perfectly obvious. But why? Just because we can do something, does that necessarily mean that we are going to do it? Of course not. There are a whole range of awful things that human beings could do to one another, but they usually take the decision not to carry them out. The advent of something which might make performing horrific acts more easy does not necessarily lead to our doing so. Indeed, it might remind us that such a thing is possible and make us more determined not to proceed down that road. In the context of human cloning, it could be argued that all the talk of the horrors of cloned babies has made society more resolute in its opposition it.[21]

In a later article she seems to turn the slippery slope argument on its head with the reverse expectation that cloning will one day be useful and that the only obstacle to such an outcome is an ethical debate:

So reproductive cloning in humans is not safe. But will it always be that way? And if one day it does become safe enough to try in humans, will president Bush be more sympathetic? Probably not. Safety matters enormously - especially for prospective patients - but ultimately it won't win or lose the political battle. Only an open and honest debate on the rights and wrongs of bringing cloned babies into the world will suffice.[22]

However, similarly to the tactics used in the 'Against Nature' programme broadcast on Channel 4 where environmentalist were presented as extremists, Tizzard argues most who question the creation of cloned human embryos are anti-abortion activists. Moreover she implies the majority view on cloning is being suppressed by a moralist minority, a similar line is also frequently used by other members of the network:

It seems that as more and more respected institutions come out in favour of creating cloned human embryos for research and therapy, those opposed to cloning for this purpose (most of whom are anti-abortion activists) shout ever louder. But such commentators, instead of engaging in rational debate on the issues (a debate which is vitally important), seem to be utilising tactics which are designed to hoodwink the public.[23]

GM and Anti-Science

Tizzard suggests attitudes towards genetic research in humans may be negatively influenced by negative attitudes towards GM food, which she believes is somehow promoted in society. According to Tizzard:

'the continued attacks on genetics in agriculture and - more worryingly - the promotion of negative attitudes even towards research may start to have their impact on applications of genetics in human medicine.'[24]

Spin

Tizzard also appears to regard 'spin' as a valid way of overcoming public concerns:

Three cheers for PPL Therapeutics! Not for their success in cloning pigs (although this is worth at least three cheers), but for their success with the media coverage of those five little piggies. Press coverage in the United Kingdom of the cloned pigs was almost universally positive... Perhaps PPL Therapeutics is just good at media spin. But maybe media spin isn't such a bad thing in science... those who raise concerns about science - whether environmental groups worried about GM crops, or church leaders worried about genetic testing - seem to have no lack of confidence about their own position. In fact, their approach to media relations often reeks of astounding arrogance. So, perhaps instead of spin doctors, what we need is spin scientists!'[25]


Career Chronology

Other Affiliations


Educational Background

Other Links to the Network

LM Network Panel Appearances

1997

2003

2008

  • 21 October 2008 - Juliet Tizzard presented a discussion entitled: 'IVF provision, risk and morality', to the Parents Forum, for the Institute of Ideas[44].

2010

Publications

1997

1998

  • Juliet Tizzard, 'IVF for OAPs?', LM 109, p. 29, April 1998.
  • Juliet Tizzard, 'Human clones to order?' - Juliet Tizzard argues that research into cloning humans could benefit us all, LM Commentary, 1 September 1998.

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2008

2009

2014

Resources

LinkedIn Juliet Tizzard


Notes

  1. LinkedIn Juliet Tizzard, acc 30 Nov 2012
  2. "My Sister's Keeper", Spiked website, accessed 2 May 2010
  3. See 'IVF Provision, Risk and Morality', Spiked website, accessed 2 May 2010. Also see 'Designer Babies', Pro-Choice Forum website, accessed 2 Jan 2011
  4. See Juliet Tizzard, Naomi Pfeffer & Laurence Shaw, 'Reproductive technologies: Ethics and infertility treatment: should we have the 'right to reproduce' 1997, Kent University, Pro-Choice Forum, accessed 5 March 2015.
  5. See Juliet Tizzard, Linked in, accessed 5 March 2015.
  6. See Juliet Tizzard, Linked in, accessed 5 March 2015.
  7. See Juliet Tizzard, Linked in, accessed 5 March 2015.
  8. Progress Educational Trust About Progress Educational Trust Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 12 April 2001 on 1 November 2010
  9. A Nexis search between the dates 01 January 2004 and 01 January 2008 returns only 2 results, both of which when she was still working for PET.
  10. 'Nature's not good enough', Living Marxism, Issue 66, April 1994
  11. Institute of Ideas/Hodder and Stoughton, 2002
  12. See Nathan Rive et. al., 'Complaint to Ofcom[Nt1 Regarding “The Great Global Warming Swindle”'], 11 June 2007, p. 125.
  13. Juliet Tizzard, 'Letter: Death Threat', The Independent, 1 September 1996.
  14. Tom Shakespeare, 'Could embryo screening lead to genetic cleansing?; No', The Guardian, 20 November 1999.
  15. Juliet Tizzard, ‘‘The Tainted Conception’ – Why shouldn’t older women receive fertility treatment? Asks Juliet Tizzard’, LM 109, p. 29, April 1998.
  16. Juliet Tizzard, ‘‘The Tainted Conception’ – Why shouldn’t older women receive fertility treatment? Asks Juliet Tizzard’, LM 109, p. 29, April 1998.
  17. Juliet Tizzard, ‘Human clones to order? – Juliet Tizzard argues that research into cloning humans could benefit us all’ LM 128, p. 17, March 2000
  18. Juliet Tizzard, ‘Human clones to order? – Juliet Tizzard argues that research into cloning humans could benefit us all’ LM 128, p. 17, March 2000
  19. See Juliet Tizzard, Naomi Pfeffer & Laurence Shaw, 'Reproductive technologies: Ethics and infertility treatment: should we have the 'right to reproduce' 1997, Kent University, Pro-Choice Forum, accessed 5 March 2015.
  20. Note that the totals were arrived at using a search function for the word in apostrophes in a list of the titles or articles. The final two were searched for as 'gene' and 'genetics' rather than 'genes' and 'genetics'. Some of the numbers listed may duplicate an article captured by another search term.
  21. Juliet Tizzard, 'Slippery slopes and cloning', 21 June 1999, BioNews, accessed 4 March 2015.
  22. Juliet Tizzard, 'Matters of safety in human cloning', 2 April 2001, BioNews, accessed 4 March 2015.
  23. Juliet Tizzard, 'Cloning research should not be dictated by moral minorities', 10 April 2000, BioNews, accessed 4 March 2015.
  24. Juliet Tizzard Blair's 'U-turn' on GM food could be bad news for human genetics BioNews, Week 21/2/2000 - 27/2/2000
  25. Juliet Tizzard Why shouldn't scientists indulge in media spin? BioNews, Week 13/3/2000 - 19/3/2000.
  26. See Directorate-General Science, Research and Development, Societal, medical and ethical implications of cloning', Proceedings of a workshop held at the Royal Society, London', 24-25 November 1997, European Commission.
  27. Juliet Tizzard Profile, Linkedin, accessed 3 March 2015.
  28. Tizzard stopped writing for BioNews in 2004. However, she contributed an article in 2014
  29. See Juliet Tizzard author archive, BioNews, accessed 3 March 2015.
  30. See David Clements, 'Designer Babies: Myth or Reality', 2004, Culture Wars, accessed 3 March 2015
  31. For start date see: 'Trustees' Report for the year ended 31 March 2007', 31 March 2007, Bionews, accessed 5 March 2015.
  32. For end date see 'Trustees' Report for the year ended 31 March 2008', 31 March 2008, Bionews, accessed 5 March 2015.
  33. Juliet Tizzard Profile, Linkedin, accessed 3 March 2015.
  34. Juliet Tizzard Profile, Linkedin, accessed 3 March 2015.
  35. See Juliet Tizzard, Author archive, 12 July 2009, Spiked, accessed 3 March 2015.
  36. Juliet Tizzard Profile, Linkedin, accessed 3 March 2015.
  37. See ESHRE, Non-standard requests? – Ethical and legal aspects of medically assisted reproduction in singles, lesbian and gay couples, and transsexuals', Organised by the Special Interest Group Ethics and Law, 1 July 2012, accessed 3 March 2015.
  38. Juliet Tizzard Profile, Linkedin, accessed 3 March 2015.
  39. See HFEA organisational structure, Juliet Tizzard staff profile, HFEA, accessed 3 March 2015.
  40. See HFEA organisational structure, Juliet Tizzard staff profile, HFEA, accessed 3 March 2015.
  41. See HFEA organisational structure, Juliet Tizzard staff profile, HFEA, accessed 3 March 2015.
  42. See Juliet Tizzard, Naomi Pfeffer & Laurence Shaw, 'Reproductive technologies: Ethics and infertility treatment: should we have the 'right to reproduce' 1997, Kent University, Pro-Choice Forum.
  43. . See [http://instituteofideas.com/documents/Genes.pdf/ 'Genes and Society Festival', 26-27 April 2003, Institute of Ideas, accessed 4 March 2015.
  44. See Juliet Tizzard, 'programme of events', Institute of Ideas, accessed 04 March 2015.
  45. See annual conference report', 24 November 2010, Bionews, accessed 5 March 2015.