On a bioethical challenge to disability rights

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32 (6):541 – 561 (2007)
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Abstract

Tensions exist between the disability rights movement and the work of many bioethicists. These reveal themselves in a major recent book on bioethics and genetics, From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice. This book defends certain genetic policies against criticisms from disability rights advocates, in part by arguing that it is possible to accept both the genetic policies and the rights of people with impairments. However, a close reading of the book reveals a series of direct moral criticisms of the disability rights movement. The criticisms go beyond a defense of genetic policies from the criticisms of disability rights advocates. The disability rights movement is said not to have the same moral legitimacy as other civil rights movements, such as those for women or "racial" minorities. This paper documents, and in some cases shows the flaws within, these challenges to the disability rights movement

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