Monday, October 03, 2005

Abortion and disability

A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics reports that the number of infants born with cystic fibrosis (CF) has decreased since prenatal genetic tests for the disease became available. CF is not the only condition, of course, for which such tests exist: Down syndrome and other conditions are included in maternal serum screening tests. Positive test results provide would-be parents with a choice: to terminate the pregnancy, or to become parents of a disabled child.

Some have criticized the more and more common practice of terminating these pregnancies as a new form of eugenics, designed to "breed out" common chromosomal abnormalities. Others disagree, saying that it's not "really" eugenics if the state isn't involved in deciding which fetuses get aborted.

At the very least, it raises questions about what we consider to be the normal range of human variation. It also implies value judgments about what kind of life is worth living.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can just commit yourself into loving the child no matter if it has a disease, some allergies or is perfectly normal.