Ethical Issues Regarding Prenatal Testing

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Ethical Issues Pertaining to Prenatal Testing
Rebecca Arsenault
University of Saint Joseph

Ethical Issues Pertaining to Prenatal Testing
The advances in medical and scientific research have impacted today’s society by constituting cures and treatments for illnesses and disabilities. A woman can now have her unborn child tested for diseases and disabilities before the child is born. This testing is called prenatal diagnosis and has become increasingly popular. Regretfully, selective abortion is exercised when the results confirm an abnormal fetus. From an ethical standpoint, prenatal diagnosis as a determining factor for abortion is immoral. Researchers have suggested that using selective abortion can create stigmas toward individuals
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Emily Jackson (2000) states in her article that disease and disabilities, which used to be simple and unfortunate acts of nature, could be increasingly regarded as a matter of voluntary choice. Couples can now decide whether or not to keep a pregnancy with known abnormalities. The research of Martie Bell and Zolinda Stoneman (2000) on the reactions to prenatal testing, show the primary reason for utilizing abortion was the belief the child would negatively affect the quality of life of their family. Couples are making a life or death choice as to whether to be burdened with a child with a disability. The argument that the quality of life of an individual with disabilities is far less, is unjust. Any child has the right to live a full and happy life. Parents that once regarded selective abortion have changed their minds due to information and support. Ilse and Manfred Gotz (2006) discussed in their work the progress of science that may influence a couple to change their minds about selective abortion. Many couples have met adolescents and adults with the same disability as their unborn child’s. This provided evidence that these children live a fulfilling life with their disability, and gives hope to future parents. There are many children with disabilities that understand the significance of prenatal testing and that in many families a choice of life or death is often discussed. One family in particular has a 14 year old daughter with cystic fibrosis
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