Abortion -- Selective
The following sources are recommended by a professor whose research specialty is selective abortion.
-- NOTE: The term "selective abortion" applies to the abortion of a fetus after a prenatal test determines that it has some characteristic, usually the likelihood of an impairment, disabling trait, or being of an undesired sex, that the woman or couple believes is incompatible with their hopes and expectations of family life. The following citations represent the current debate surrounding the use of prenatal testing for sex and health characteristics of the fetus. The articles by Botkin, Green, and Shaw illustrate the principal rationales given for supporting prenatal testing followed by abortion if an impairment/disability is diagnosed; the article by Asch presents a critique of those arguments; the two co-edited books present essays by some of the major scholars who have studied the impact of prenatal testing on women (Rothenberg and Thomson) and on people with disabilities (Parens and Asch). Read together, these articles and books provide careful analysis of the critiques offered for a practice becoming routine for many middle class women in "advanced" nations. As will be seen from the articles and the book chapters, this topic engages philosophers, physicians, social scientists, parents of children and adults who have disabilities, and people with disabilities themselves. Understanding the debate requires grappling with data about the lives of people with disabilities and their families, the implications of childbearing and childrearing for women and their partners, the social meaning of disability and family in contemporary life, and all our dreams of what a good childhood and a good parent-child relationship should be.
· Asch, A. (1999). "Prenatal Diagnosis and Selective Abortion: A Challenge to Practice and Policy." American Journal of Public Health, 89, 1649-57.
· Botkin, J. (1995). "Fetal Privacy and Confidentiality." Hastings Center Report, 25(3), 32-39.
· Green, R. (1996). "Prenatal Autonomy and the Obligation Not to Harm One's Child Genetically." Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics, 25, 5-16.
· Parens, E., and Asch, A. (Eds.). (2000). Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights. Georgetown University Press.
· Rothenberg, K.H., and Thompson, E.J. (Eds.). (1994). Women and Prenatal Testing: Facing the Challenges of Genetic Technology. Ohio State University Press.
· Shaw, M.W. (1984). "Presidential Address: To Be or Not to Be, That Is the Question." American Journal of Human Genetics, 36, 1-9.
-- NOTE: The following is a list of valuable resources to learn more about the current discussion of prenatal testing and selective abortion. The bibliography contains several writings by people with disabilities from a social/minority group model of disability that are generally critical of the routine practice of prenatal testing and selective abortion. This bibliography also includes representative examples of philosophical, medical, bioethical, and feminist writing on this subject. Reading these works helps explain the origins of the disability rights critique of prenatal testing, as well as the mainstream responses to that critique. To prevent this bibliography from becoming unduly large, it does not include historical discussions of eugenics in Europe or the United States, or such related topics as involuntary sterilization of people with disabilities, the literature on the family life of people with disabilities as children or parents, or the background discussion of the social/minority group model of disability that underlies the disability critique of prenatal testing followed by selective abortion.
· Asch, A. (1989). "Reproductive Technology and Disability." In S. Cohen and N. Taub (eds), Reproductive Laws for the 1990s (69-124). Rutgers University Press.
· Asch, A., and Geller, G. (1996). "Feminism, Bioethics and Genetics." In S. Wolf (ed), Feminism and Bioethics: Beyond Reproduction (318-50). Oxford University Press.
· Beck, M. (1999). Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth and Everyday Magic. Times Books.
· Berube, M. (1996). Life As We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child. Pantheon Books.
· Buchanan, A., Brock, D.W., Daniels, N., and Wikler, D. (2000). From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice. Cambridge University Press.
· Davis, D.S. (1997). "Genetic Dilemmas and the Child's Right to an Open Future." Hastings Center Report, 27(2), 7-15.
· Duster, T., and Beeson, D. (October, 1997). Pathways and Barriers to Genetic Testing and Screening: Molecular Genetics Meets the "High Risk" Family. Final Report. U.S. Department of Energy.
· Field, M.A. (1993). "Killing 'The Handicapped': Before and after Birth." Harvard Women's Law Journal, 16, 79-138.
· Fine, M., and Asch, A. (1982). "The Question of Disability: No Easy Answers for the Women's Movement." Reproductive Rights Newsletter, 4(3), 19-20.
· Finger, A. (1984). "Claiming All of Our Bodies: Reproductive Rights and Disabilities." In R. Arditti, R.D. Klein, and S. Minden (eds), Test-Tube Women: What Future for Motherhood? (281-97). Pandora Press.
· Harris, J. (2000). "Is There a Coherent Social Conception of Disability?" Journal of Medical Ethics, 26(2), 95-100.
· Interaction. (2000). Special issue, 13(3).
· Johnson, M. (1990). "Aborting Defective Fetuses: What Will It Do?" Link Disability Journal, August/September, 14.
· Little People of America. "Little People of America's Position Statement on Genetic Discoveries in Dwarfism." Halfway down this "Frequently Asked Questions" page. http://www.lpaonline.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=44397
· Lippman, A., and Wilfond, B. (1992). "Twice-Told Tales: Stories about Genetic Disorders." American Journal of Human Genetics, 51, 936-37.
· Menary, J. (1987). Amniocentesis, Abortion Experience: A Study of Psychological Effects and Healing Process. Thesis Presented at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
· Miringoff, M.L. (1991). The Social Costs of Genetic Welfare. Rutgers University Press.
· National Down Syndrome Congress, Professional Advisory Committee. (August, 1994). "National down Syndrome Congress Position Statement on Prenatal Testing and Eugenics: Families' Rights and Needs Eradicating Handicap." Down Syndrome News, 17(7), 3. http://www.altonweb.com/cs/downsyndrome/index.htm?page=eugenicsndsc.html
· National Institutes of Health. (1994). "Appendix: Reproductive Genetic Testing: Impact on Women." Workshop Statement. In K.H. Rothenberg and E.J. Thompson (eds), Women and Prenatal Testing: Facing the Challenges of Genetic Technology (295-300). Ohio State University Press.
· Newell, C. (1999). "The Social Nature of Disability, Disease, and Genetics: A Response to Gillam, Persson, Holtug, Draper and Chadwick." Journal of Medical Ethics, 25, 172-75.
· Parens, E., and Asch, A. (1999). "The Disability Rights Critique of Prenatal Genetic Testing: Reflections and Recommendations." Hastings Center Report, 29, S1-S22.
· Purdy, L. (1995). "Loving Future People." In J. Callahan (ed), Reproduction, Ethics and the Law (300-27). Indiana University Press.
· Rapp, R. (1999). Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America. Routledge.
· Reindal, S.M. (2000). "Disability, Gene Therapy and Eugenics: A Challenge to John Harris." Journal of Medical Ethics, 26(2), 89-94.
· Saxton, M. (1984). "Born and Unborn: The Implications of Reproductive Technologies for People with Disabilities." In R. Arditti, R.D. Klein, and S. Minden (eds), Test-Tube Women: What Future for Motherhood? (298-312). Pandora Press.
· Saxton, M. (1998). "Disability Rights and Selective Abortion." In R. Solinger (ed), Abortion Wars: A Half Century of Struggle, 1950-2000 (374-93). University of California Press.
· Shakespeare, T. (1995). "Back to the Future? New Genetics and Disabled People." Critical Social Policy, 15, 22-35.
· Shakespeare, T. (1998). "Choices and Rights: Eugenics, Genetics and Disability." Disability and Society, 13, 665-81.
· Shakespeare, T. (1999). "Losing the Plot? Medical and Activist Discourses of Contemporary Genetics and Disability." Sociology of Health and Illness, 21(5), 669-88.
· Shakespeare, T. (2000). "Arguing about Disability and Genetics." Interaction, 13(3), 11-14.
· Steinbock, B., and McClamrock, R. (1994). "When Is Birth Unfair to the Child?" Hastings Center Report, 24(6), 15-21.
· Wendell, S. (1996). The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability. Routledge, chapter 6.
· Wertz, D.C. (1992). "How Parents of Affected Children View Selective Abortion." In H.B. Holmes (ed), Issues in Reproductive Technology (161-89). New York University Press.
"The Infography about Selective Abortion"
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