When choosing the traits of children is hurtful to others

Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (2):105-108 (2011)
Timothy F. Murphy
Boston College
Some commentators object to the use of embryonic and fetal diagnostic technologies by parents who wish to avoid disabilities in their children. In particular, they say this use is hurtful in the meaning it expresses, namely that the lives of people with disabilities are not valuable or are less valuable than the lives of others. Other commentators have tried to show that this meaning does not necessarily belong to parents' choices and is not therefore credible as a general moral objection. However, this analysis overlooks the way in which the use of these technologies can be legitimately interpreted as hurtful. Once we admit to these hurtful effects felt by people with disabilities and those who hold them dear, it becomes important to ask whether that hurt can justify limits on parents' choices. Because the use of these technologies does not hurt people with disabilities directly and because there is no requirement that people having children work to ensure the continued existence of people with disabilities, no justification for limiting parents' choices is to be found in the hurt some people experience in steps taken to avoid disabilities in children.
Keywords medical ethics  disabilities  future generations
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/jme.2010.037861
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,475
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Choosing Disabilities and Enhancements in Children: A Choice Too Far?Timothy F. Murphy - 2009 - Reproductie Biomedicine Online 2009 (18 sup. 1):43-49.
Children and the Argument From 'Marginal' Cases.Amy Mullin - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (3):291-305.
Employment and People with Disabilities.Mari Kondo - 2007 - Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 18:174-178.
The Ethics of Helping Transgender Men and Women Have Children.Timothy F. Murphy - 2010 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 53 (1):46-60.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
20 ( #304,520 of 2,286,052 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #389,961 of 2,286,052 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature