NYT: Genetic Testing + Abortion = ??

13 May

Interesting NY Times article.
– Anjali

Genetic Testing + Abortion = ??

Published: May 13, 2007

SARAHLYNN LESTER, 32, considers herself a supporter of abortion rights. She gives money to the National Abortion Rights Action League and volunteers for Planned Parenthood.

But as a woman who continued a pregnancy after learning that her child would have Down syndrome, she also has beliefs about the ethics of choosing, or not choosing, certain kinds of children.

“I thought it would be morally wrong to have an abortion for a child that had a genetic disability,” said Ms. Lester, a marketing manager in St. Louis.

As prenatal tests make it possible to identify fetuses that will have mental retardation, deafness, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and a range of other conditions, such personal deliberations are adding a new layer to the fraught political debate over abortion.

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. Read more…

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