On 9 July 1990, in Moore v. Regents of the University of California, the Supreme Court of California ruled in a four-to-three decision that individuals do not have rights to a share in profits earned from research performed on their bodily materials. In its decision, the Supreme Court of California ruled that cancer patient John L. Moore did not have personal property rights to samples or fluids that his physicians took from his body for research purposes. Moore created the precedent in California that although physicians are required to disclose their research interests to their patients, patients do not have property-related claims to any samples that their physicians take from their body. The Supreme Court of California’s decision in Moore v. Regents of the University of California enabled physicians and researchers to retain legal ownership on samples taken from their patients’ bodies so that they can conduct what the court describes as socially important medical research, such as work on reproductive cancers or developmental disorders.
Forbes v. Napolitano (2000) was a US court case that established that Arizona researchers could use fetal tissues from induced abortions for basic scientific research, for instance, as a source of stem cells. The case challenged the constitutionality of the Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 36-2303 in the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals, a law that banned researchers from using fetal tissues from abortions for any type of medical experimentation or investigation. The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals decision in Forbes v. Napolitano set a precedent in Arizona that allowed researchers and physicians to use tissues from aborted fetuses for medical research and treatments. Arizona later passed a state law in 2016 that sought to make obsolete the decision reached in Forbes v. Napolitano by revising ARS 36-2303 to avoid the problems the court had found with it.