A Response to Nelson and Mahowald

It is gratifying that thoughtful philosophers and bioethicists like Mahowald and Nelson are continuing to address the objections to prenatal testing that have been made by disability scholars and advocates. But it is frustrating to see those objections presented in ways that reflect the doubts of those who reject them more than the intentions of those who make them, in ways that make those objections appear censorious toward pregnant women and prospective parents or naïve about nonverbal expression. We recognize that disability critics share the responsibility for these misunderstandings, that their objections to prenatal disability testing have not always been made as clearly or consistently as they might have been. We therefore welcome this opportunity for clarification and rebuttal. Briefly, we will argue against Mahowald that it is not apparent how prospective parents could have a duty to potential offspring requiring them to prevent the birth of any child expected to have a life worth living. And we will remind Nelson that our primary concern is with the perpetuation of stigma; that even if any reason for abortion can be framed in terms of a trait of the fetus to be aborted, only certain reasons for abortion are based on the rejection of future children because of stigmatized traits
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DOI 10.1017/S0963180107070612
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