The moral implications of prenatal genetic testing
Penn Bioethics Journal 2006; 2(2): 13-16
The advance of medical technology now permits many genetic tests to be administered to a fetus in the womb. The goal of this testing is to determine the potential for genetically based disorders and disabilities. The use of these tests has major implications on the decision of a parent to abort a child based on what information they find in the prospective child's genes. Advocates of prenatal testing argue that it enables the families of these prospective children to make an informed decision when faced with the possibility of disability. I argue that this choice is drastically limited by social coercion through a discriminatory and stereotyped perception of the disabled community. Permitting an uncontrolled barrage of prenatal genetic tests will further promote the stereotype of a disabled life, and thus hinders our societal goal to recognise and promote equality and individuality. Which disabilities to test for, or what genes to search for, is a judgement that should be made only through extensive consultation with members of the disabled community, including individuals who have suffered from or who have been directly associated with the disability which is said to be tested.
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Genetic Testing is Different [reviews of GENETIC TESTING FOR ALZHEIMER DISEASE: ETHICAL AND CLINICAL ISSUES, by Stephen G. Post and Peter J. Whitehouse and PROMOTING SAFE AND EFFECTIVE GENETIC TESTING IN THE UNITED STATES: PRINCIPLES AND RECOMMENDATIONS, by Task Force on Genetic Testing, NIH-DOE Working Group on Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Human Genome Research] Clayton, Ellen Wright (2001-04)