Impact of UNCRPD on the Status of Persons With Disabilities
Indian journal of medical ethics 2011 Oct-Dec; 8(4): 223-9
The sanctity of human life is a fundamental human value and the medical profession has been ethically charged with respecting and enhancing the value of all human beings' lives. However, disability-selective abortion has been perceived as an acceptable health intervention to eliminate disabilities, and is provided for in law as well as in policies and healthcare programmes related to disability. Advanced medical technologies are being utilised not to maximise the lives of persons with disabilities but to prevent the birth of disabled people by medically terminating foetuses diagnosed with disability. Evidently, disability is seen as undesirable per se by society, and life with disability as not worth living. The disability rights perspective argues that such laws, policies and programmes deny persons with disabilities the right to life and thereby discriminate against them. They violate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that recognises the inherent human dignity of all human beings and treats persons with disabilities on an equal basis with all other human beings. This paper examines the question of whether disability-selective abortion as a prevention strategy diminishes the value of persons with disabilities, in the context of the right to life and dignity of life accorded by the UNCRPD to persons with disabilities. This is discussed in the context of a selected summary of international and Indian policy and law on this subject.
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