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Prenatal diagnosis: whose right?
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Prenatal diagnosis: whose right?

Author: D Heyd Affiliation: Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Journal of medical ethics, 1995 Oct; 21(5): 292-7
Database:From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Other Databases: WorldCat
Summary:
The question who is the subject of the right to prenatal diagnosis may be answered in four ways: the parents, the child, society, or no one. This article investigates the philosophical issues involved in each of these answers, which touch upon the conditions of personal identity, the principle of privacy, the scope of social responsibility, and the debate about impersonalism in ethics. The author, a professor of  Read more...
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Details

Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: D Heyd Affiliation: Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
ISSN:0306-6800
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 121363784
Notes: 15 fn.
KIE BoB Subject Heading: prenatal diagnosis
Full author name: Heyd, David
TJ: JOURNAL OF MEDICAL ETHICS.
Awards:

Abstract:

The question who is the subject of the right to prenatal diagnosis may be answered in four ways: the parents, the child, society, or no one. This article investigates the philosophical issues involved in each of these answers, which touch upon the conditions of personal identity, the principle of privacy, the scope of social responsibility, and the debate about impersonalism in ethics. The author, a professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, considers which rights should be paramount with regard to prenatal diagnosis, those of the parents, the child, society, or no one. He takes the use of modern techniques for diagnosing homosexual tendencies in the fetus as a good example of the ethical dilemmas of prenatal diagnosis and the theoretical problems in their resolution. For the discussion, it is assumed that sexual orientation can be diagnosed by amniocentesis early in gestation and changed by means of an androgen injection administered during the critical stage of brain development. If is determined through testing that a fetus will be homosexual if allowed to develop within the womb unmolested, should the androgen injection be given to the infant to artificially create a heterosexual being? If it is known that parents who receive the diagnosis that their child will be homosexual will abort the fetus, should they be told the truth? Moreover, there is no objective basis upon which to conclude that being homosexual is inferior to being heterosexual. Despite that latter truth, and despite the fact that any homosexual can truly want to have been born heterosexual, the author rejects the rights of the fetus and believes that either parents or society should have the right to decide the fate of the homosexual fetus put forth in this hypothetical situation. He believes that it is most important to balance individual preferences with social goals. The author, a professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, considers which rights should be paramount with regard to prenatal diagnosis, those of the parents, the child, society, or no one. He takes the use of modern techniques for diagnosing homosexual tendencies in the fetus as a good example of the ethical dilemmas of prenatal diagnosis and the theoretical problems in their resolution. For the discussion, it is assumed that sexual orientation can be diagnosed by amniocentesis early in gestation and changed by means of an androgen injection administered during the critical stage of brain development. If is determined through testing that a fetus will be homosexual if allowed to develop within the womb unmolested, should the androgen injection be given to the infant to artificially create a heterosexual being? If it is known that parents who receive the diagnosis that their child will be homosexual will abort the fetus, should they be told the truth? Moreover, there is no objective basis upon which to conclude that being homosexual is inferior to being heterosexual. Despite that latter truth, and despite the fact that any homosexual can truly want to have been born heterosexual, the author rejects the rights of the fetus and believes that either parents or society should have the right to decide the fate of the homosexual fetus put forth in this hypothetical situation. He believes that it is most important to balance individual preferences with social goals.

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