Medicine Studies 1 (2):95-104 (2009)

Dieter Birnbacher
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
One moot point in bioethical debates about genetic testing concerns the conditions that have to be fulfilled to make individual genetic testing or individual participation in genetic screening programs truly voluntary. Though there is a relatively broad consensus about the non-viability of views on the extremes of the spectrum of opinions, there is considerable disagreement in the middle. This mirrors the difficulties in defining satisfactory demarcation lines between autonomous choice, pressured choice and coercion in cases in which the decision to participate is triggered, wholly or partly, by factors such as material incentives, urgent health needs, massive social expectations, or moral pressure from relatives. In this contribution, some of the semantic conditions and ethical principles concerning coercion are explored with a view to applying them to genetic testing, especially in the context of insurance and participation in clinical trials
Keywords Genetic testing  Coercion  Voluntariness
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DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0012-x
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