Is It Just for a Screening Program to Give People All the Information They Want?

American Journal of Bioethics 23 (7):34-42 (2023)
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Genomic screening at population scale generates many ethical considerations. One is the normative role that people’s preferences should play in determining access to genomic information in screening contexts, particularly information that falls beyond the scope of screening. We expect both that people will express a preference to receive such results and that there will be interest from the professional community in providing them. In this paper, we consider this issue in relation to the just and equitable design of population screening programs like reproductive genetic carrier screening (RGCS). Drawing on a pluralistic public health ethics perspective, we claim that generating and reporting information about genetic variants beyond the scope of the screening program usually lacks clinical, and perhaps personal, utility. There are both pragmatic and ethical reasons to restrict information provision to that which fits the stated purpose of the program.



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Author Profiles

Ainsley Newson
University of Sydney
Lisa Dive
University of Technology Sydney