Thursday, May 17, 2007

How much choice? (and who decides?): the challenge of pre-natal testing

Art Caplan poses a succinct question in an article about abortion and genetic testing posted earlier this week in the NY Times: "Abortion rights supporters — who believe that a woman has the right to make decisions about her own body — have had to grapple with the reality that the right to choose may well be used selectively to abort fetuses deemed genetically undesirable. And many are finding that, while they support a woman’s right to have an abortion if she does not want to have a baby, they are less comfortable when abortion is used by women who don’t want to have a particular baby.

'How much choice do you really want to give?' asked Arthur Caplan, chairman of the department of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. 'That’s the challenge of prenatal testing to pro-choicers.'

For many women and their partners, the decision to terminate a pregnancy after a prenatal diagnosis of a serious genetic defect can be harrowing, often coming after a painful assessment of their own emotional and financial resources." To read on, click here.

3 comments:

Juno Walker said...

Linda -

I was wondering what your thoughts were on the topic. I noticed that you quoted the article, but I didn't see anything else - unless I'm missing something.

I blogged about this article in my post I'm Pro-choice...and Pro-life.

Best,
Juno

Linda MacDonald Glenn said...

I think it is a complex issue and I like your post on this -- I don't particularly like the terms 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life' because they reduce extremely complex ethical decisions into sound bites -- and, like you, I am very much about of recognizing the interconnectedness of us all and the importance of compassion. I couldn't give you a quick opinion on this issue, because I think it depends on the circumstances.

Juno Walker said...

Linda -

Thanks for responding. I agree that those terms are sound-bite terms - but, hey, I have a blog to promote!

But seriously, as a man, I of course can't completely empathize with a woman faced with this decision. I've never even been in this situation, so I'm even further removed from it.

But I think what it comes down to is a woman's sovereignty over her own body; and the choice is ultimately hers, however difficult it may be.

Best,
Juno