Ethical Perspectives 10 (3):196-203 (2003)

In Germany the question whether to uphold or repeal the judicial prohibition on Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis is being debated from quite different standpoints. This paper differentiates the major arguments according to their reasons as a) moral, b) evaluative , and c) legal. The arguments for and against PGD can be divided by content into three groups: arguments relating to the status of the embryo, focusing on individual actions in the implementation of PGD, and relating to the foreseeable or probable consequences of PGD.In Germany, from a legal perspective, the status of the embryo does not permit the intervention of PGD; from a purely moral perspective, a prohibition on PGD does not appear defensible. It remains an open question, however, whether the moral argument permitting PGD should be restricted for evaluative reasons. The paper discusses the species-ethical reasons, for which Jürgen Habermas sees worrisome consequences in the wake of PGD to the extent that we comprehend it as the forerunner of a ‘positive eugenics’. It would so disrupt the natural preconditions of our universal morality. The question of whether to prohibit or allow PGD is not merely a question of simple moral and/or legal arguments, but demands a choice between evaluative, moral and species-ethical arguments, and the question remains open
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DOI 10.2143/EP.10.3.503885
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