Poiesis and Praxis 1 (4):239-261 (2003)

Michael Selgelid
Monash University
Suppose we accept prenatal diagnosis and the selective abortion of fetuses that test positive for severe genetic disorders to be both morally and socially acceptable. Should we consider prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion (or other genetic interventions such as preimplantation diagnosis, genetic therapy, cloning, etc.) for nontherapeutic purposes to be acceptable as well? On the one hand, the social aims to promote liberty in general, and reproductive liberty in particular, provide reason for thinking that individuals should be free to make their own decisions about whether or not to employ whatever genetic services might be developed and offered by private enterprise. On the other hand, interventions aimed at enhancement would (in many cases) presumably only be available to those who are financially fortunate. A worry is that unequal access to enhancements that provide competitive advantages to offspring will further and more permanently increase existing unjust disparities between the haves and have-nots. The aim to promote liberty might thus conflict with the social aim of equality. An additional worry is that the development and provision of nontherapeutic genetic interventions would drain limited medical resources away from therapeutic purposes which would ultimately be more fruitful. The promotion of liberty might also thus conflict with the aim to promote aggregate utility. Assuming there is no reason to think that the promotion of liberty should be given absolute priority over both equality and aggregate utility, we need to think more about how to make trade-offs between these three legitimate social aims
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DOI 10.1007/s10202-003-0024-7
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Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - Oxford University Press.
Taking Rights Seriously.Ronald Dworkin (ed.) - 1977 - Duckworth.
Just Health Care.Norman Daniels - 1985 - Cambridge University Press.

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