Prevention of disability on grounds of suffering

Journal of Medical Ethics 27 (6):380-382 (2001)
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This paper examines one particular justification for the screening and termination of embryos/fetuses which possess genetic features known to cause disability. The particular case is that put forward in several places by John Harris. He argues that the obligation to prevent needless suffering justifies the prevention of the births of disabled neonates. The paper begins by rehearsing Harris's case. Then, drawing upon claims advanced in a recent paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics, it is subjected to critical scrutiny, focusing on Harris's “suffering claim” .1 It is argued that the suffering claim must be false if understood as an empirical claim. And, even if understood as a conceptual truth, it mistakenly assimilates the concepts of harm and suffering. Finally, again focusing on Harris's recent work in this area, his characterisation of disability as a “harmed condition” is shown not to apply in the case of at least some moderate forms of intellectual disability



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Citations of this work

One principle and three fallacies of disability studies.John Harris - 2001 - Journal of Medical Ethics 27 (6):383-387.
What we talk about when we talk about pediatric suffering.Tyler Tate - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (4):143-163.
Purebred Dogs and Canine Wellbeing.Sofia Jeppsson - 2014 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (3):417-430.
Using Pain, Living with Pain.Emma Sheppard - 2018 - Feminist Review 120 (1):54-69.

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References found in this work

Is there a coherent social conception of disability?J. Harris - 2000 - Journal of Medical Ethics 26 (2):95-100.

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