A study of 78 parents of Down'ssyndrome children shows that, while most were in favour of abortion for a handicapped fetus, they were divided equally on whether euthanasia (no distinction made between active and passive euthanasia) was an acceptable practice. Only a third considered an average Down'ssyndrome child could be a suitable candidate for euthanasia. While parents argued that the degree of handicap of the child was the crucial factor in making this decision, in (...) fact the social class of the parents themselves was the only variable which was statistically significantly related to their opinions. Differences arose from the parents' lack of agreement on what constituted a sufficiently severe handicap. (shrink)
It is suggested that the practice of attempting to normalise children with Down 's syndrome by subjecting them to major facial plastic surgery has no therapeutic benefit, and should be seen as mutilating surgery comparable to female circumcision.
Abortion continues to be a moral and ethical dilemma in medicine. While abortions in general have always faced social stigmas, the abortion of fetuses with Down’s syndrome in particular remains the subject of debate across the globe. In India, under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion is legal under prescribed circumstances only till 20 weeks of gestation. Laws for abortion after 20 week of gestation are ill defined. In a recent ruling of the Supreme Court in India, a (...) woman was denied the right to abortion of her 26 week old fetus. With this ruling, India has joined the rest of the world in the debate surrounding abortion laws and the ethics of abortion. (shrink)
BackgroundGenetic disorders due to kindred marriages are common medical conditions in Iran; however, the legal aspects of abortion remain controversial. This study was undertaken to determine physicians' opinions regarding the termination of pregnancy for three genetic diseases: thalassemia major, hemophilia, and Down'ssyndrome.MethodsA questionnaire was administered to selected physicians by stratified random sampling to determine the following: age, gender, knowledge about prenatal diagnosis of diseases in high risk pregnancies, agreement with abortion, recommended gestational age for abortion, and, if (...) opposed to abortion, the reason.ResultsOf 323 physicians, who participated in the study, 91.3(295), 40.6(131), and 78.6%(254) were in agreement and 8.7(28), 59.4(192), and 21.4%(69) were opposed to abortion for thalassemia major, hemophilia, and Down'ssyndrome, respectively. Among 289 physicians opposed to abortion in respect of each of all three conditions, the following reasons were cited: religion, 18; emotional, 10; quality of care, 23; hope to find a new treatment option in the future, 103; miscellaneous reasons, 6; and a combination of these reasons, 129. Among 680 physicians in agreement with abortion in relation to all of the diseases, 4.6%(31) were agreed with abortion in less than 12 weeks gestation, 79.2%(538) in less than 16 weeks gestation, 5.6%(38) in less than 20 weeks gestation, 2.2%(15) in less than 24 weeks gestation, and 8.4%(58) were agreed with beyond the 24 weeks of gestational age.ConclusionThe majority of physicians were in agreement with abortion for thalassemia major and Down'ssyndrome because of the overall prognosis, but opposed to abortion for hemophilia. (shrink)
BackgroundGenetic disorders due to kindred marriages are common medical conditions in Iran; however, the legal aspects of abortion remain controversial. This study was undertaken to determine physicians' opinions regarding the termination of pregnancy for three genetic diseases: thalassemia major, hemophilia, and Down'ssyndrome.MethodsA questionnaire was administered to selected physicians by stratified random sampling to determine the following: age, gender, knowledge about prenatal diagnosis of diseases in high risk pregnancies, agreement with abortion, recommended gestational age for abortion, and, if (...) opposed to abortion, the reason.ResultsOf 323 physicians, who participated in the study, 91.3, 40.6, and 78.6% were in agreement and 8.7, 59.4, and 21.4% were opposed to abortion for thalassemia major, hemophilia, and Down'ssyndrome, respectively. Among 289 physicians opposed to abortion in respect of each of all three conditions, the following reasons were cited: religion, 18; emotional, 10; quality of care, 23; hope to find a new treatment option in the future, 103; miscellaneous reasons, 6; and a combination of these reasons, 129. Among 680 physicians in agreement with abortion in relation to all of the diseases, 4.6% were agreed with abortion in less than 12 weeks gestation, 79.2% in less than 16 weeks gestation, 5.6% in less than 20 weeks gestation, 2.2% in less than 24 weeks gestation, and 8.4% were agreed with beyond the 24 weeks of gestational age.ConclusionThe majority of physicians were in agreement with abortion for thalassemia major and Down'ssyndrome because of the overall prognosis, but opposed to abortion for hemophilia. (shrink)
Genetic disorders due to kindred marriages are common medical conditions in Iran; however, the legal aspects of abortion remain controversial. This study was undertaken to determine physicians' opinions regarding..
This article reviews the literature on prenatal screening for Down’s syndrome. To be evidence based, medicine and nursing have to take account of research evidence and also of how this evidence is processed through the influence of prevailing social and moral attitudes. This review of the extensive literature examines how appropriate widely-held understandings of Down’s syndrome are, and asks whether or not practitioners and prospective parents have access to the full range of moral arguments and social evidence on (...) the matter. Highly valued ideals of justice, personal autonomy, parental choice, women’s control over their reproduction and of avoiding harm can all tend towards negative rather than neutral approaches to Down’s syndrome. This article considers how ethics and prenatal screening policies and practice that take greater account of social evidence of disability could use moral arguments that inform rather than determine the choices of people who use prenatal services. (shrink)
Sequenom Inc., a developer of medical diagnostic products, recently made their noninvasive test for Down syndrome available for clinical practice.1 The DNA-based test—given the name “MaterniT21”—requires only a simple maternal blood sample as early as 10 weeks of gestation. In recent clinical trials involving thousands of pregnant women, the MaterniT21 test identified 99.1% of cases of Down syndrome, and gave the correct result in 99.9% of cases when the fetus did not have Down syndrome. Sequenom’s test is (...) thought to be an improvement on previous prenatal testing techniques because of its. (shrink)
Much of recent medical, legal, and ethical focus has been directed toward the unborn or newly born. Guidelines and frameworks for decision making are in the early stages of evolution and are likely to shift as the politics, ethics, and economics of caregiving move beyond technologic accomplishments and debates into a more compassionate construct that may include input from an institutional bioethics committee. Beyond that, the courts may continue to be the place where unresolved issues are settled, and with each (...) passing year new and often divergent legal decisions are being generated that further complicate the physician's role as care giver and healer. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that Down by Law (Jarmusch, 1986) is about how the encounter with otherness renews freedom and American identity. I first develop the idea of renewal through otherness by way of a discussion of Levinas' philosophy of freedom and Arendt's notion natality, contrasting it with the idea of negative liberty, which I explicate through a discussion of Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, and Tocqueville.Â Next, I show how negative liberty is engrained in the idea of America through a (...) discussion of the formative American motifs of the road and the prison, which play structuring roles in Down by Law . I then try to show how the immigrant character of Bob (Roberto Benigni) is an other who liberates the American characters of Jack (John Lurie) and Zack (Tom Waits), who are existentially 'imprisoned' by their negative liberty. (shrink)
: I argue that there is an important analogy between sex selection and selective abortion of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome. There are surprising parallels between the social construction of Down syndrome as a disability and the deeply entrenched institutionalization of sexual difference in many societies. Prevailing concepts of gender and mental retardation exert a powerful influence in constructing the sexual identities and life plans of people with Down syndrome, and also affect their families' lives.
I argue that there is an important analogy between sex selection and selective abortion of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome. There are surprising parallels between the social construction of Down syndrome as a disability and the deeply entrenched institutionalization of sexual difference in many societies. Prevailing concepts of gender and mental retardation exert a powerful influence in constructing the sexual identities and life plans of people with Down syndrome, and also affect their families' lives.
We describe an exploratory case study about the applicability of different robotic platforms in an educational context with a child with Down syndrome. The robotic platforms tested are the humanoid robot KASPAR and the mobile robotic platform IROMEC. During the study we observed the effects KASPAR and IROMEC had in helping the child with the development and improvement of her social skills while playing different interactive games with the robots. Conceptually similar play scenarios were performed with both robots and (...) the behaviour of the child was monitored during her interactions with them. (shrink)
In July 2003, Prime Minister Koizumi successfully passed the legislation to dispatch ground SDF units to Iraq in the Diet. His top-down policy process was completely different from Japan's traditional bottom-up system, which Aurelia George Mulgan calls the in which the bureaucrats in the ministries play a central role with the LDP being the only political power to negotiate with them. Mulgan also argues that the system has not changed despite recent institutional changes. On the contrary, this paper illustrates how (...) Koizumi and his Cabinet took advantage of the strengthened authority of the Cabinet Secretariat to initiate policies, and successfully pushed the controversial national security legislation through LDP decision-making organs and the Diet by gaining support first from the coalition partners, presenting a new style of Westminster system. (shrink)
By the end of the Second World War the advancing allied forces discovered a new nerve gas in Germany. It was called Tabun. Codenamed GA, it was found to be extremely toxic. British experts were immediately dispatched to examine the agent. On arrival, they discovered that German scientists had also developed even more toxic nerve agents, including Sarin, known as GB. The first organized testing of Sarin on humans began in October 1951 at Porton Down in Wiltshire, Britain's biochemical warfare (...) establishment since the First World War. In February 1953, volunteer number 562 experienced the first recorded serious adverse reaction. Testing continued. Two months later, on April 27, six subjects were given 300 milligrams of Sarin. One of the volunteers, a man named Kelly, suffered serious ill effects, fell into a coma, but then recovered. Although asked by their superiors to reduce the amount tested to the “lowest range of dosage”—which would have been somewhere in the region of 10–15 milligrams—Porton's scientists continued their tests with a “lower” dosage, reducing it from 300 to 200 milligrams. (shrink)
Although the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome has become commonplace, infanticide is still widely rejected. Generally, there are three ways of justifying the differentiation between abortion and infanticide: by referring to the differences between the moral status of the fetus versus the infant, by referring to the differences of the moral status of the act of abortion versus the act of infanticide, or by separating the way the permissibility of abortion is justified from the way the impermissibility of (...) infanticide is justified. My argument is that none of these ways justifies the abortion of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome while simultaneously rejecting infanticide. Either the justification for abortion is consistent with infanticide, or it is implausible to justify abortion while rejecting infanticide. I conclude the article by making some preliminary remarks about how one might manage the situation posed by my argument. (shrink)
In the past three decades, the work of Varela has had an enormous impact on current developments in contemporary science. Problem: Varela’s thought was extremely complex and multifaceted, and while some aspects - notably his contributions to the autopoietic theory of living and enactivist approach to cognition - have gained widespread acclaim, others have been ignored or watered down. Method: We identify three dimensions of Varela’s thought: anti-realism of the “middle way”; anti-foundationalism of the circular/recursive onto-epistemology; and ethical/social implications of (...) the circularity/recursivity. The discussion of these dimensions is followed by a concise overview of the individual target articles in this issue and the topics they cover. Finally, we discuss in what ways the articles extend and relate to Varela’s work. We do this by means of a concrete example: the relation between “enaction” and “enactivism. Results: We show that the ignoring-cum-watering-down process of Varela’s contributions to science is at least partly linked to the three dimensions of Varela’s thought. Based on our examination we also find that the more narrow research topics are always interrelated with broader philosophical reflection. Researching into ignored and watered-down aspects of Varela’s work enables us to not only gain fresh insights into Varela’s overall philosophy and rekindle interest in the topics and themes that have been brushed aside, but also cast a fresh light on those that are currently in full bloom. Implications: Reviving interest in Varela’s work in toto could lead to fruitful research and discussion in numerous scientific fields. To illustrate this idea, we delineate, tentatively, three domains - theoretical, empirical, and existential - where Varela’s contribution to philosophy and science could instigate prolific exchange of views. Constructivist content: All three dimensions of Varela’s philosophy have strong affinities with radical constructivist critique of realism and some of its epistemological and ethical implications. (shrink)
Brussen, Kerri Anne This article briefly examines the history and genetics of Down syndrome. Contemporary prenatal testing practices are described as is the effect of testing on the birth prevalence of children with Down syndrome. The analysis of a series of articles on families with a child with Down syndrome provides a touching insight into these families. It demonstrates that each person - including those with Down syndrome - make a unique and valuable contribution to their (...) family and the world. (shrink)
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) transforms the U.S.'s public and private health care financing systems into vehicles for promoting public health by making evidence-based preventive services available nationwide through individual and group health plans, Medicare, and Medicaid. The ACA accomplishes this transformation by breaking down two barriers: (1) the public health-health care divide, which led to a dominance of curative medicine over preventive health measures and (2) ERISA preemption, which created an obstacle to the provision of a uniform set of (...) evidence-based preventive services that could be made available to the U.S. population through individual and group health plans. As a result, prevention measures with proven effectiveness will now be provided on a national and uniform basis to a majority of Americans, with the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce costs. (shrink)
I suggest how Merleau-Pontian sense hinges on an ontology in which passivity and what I call “development” are fundamental. This means, though, that the possibility of philosophy cannot be guaranteed in advance: philosophy is a joint operation of philosophers and being, and is radically contingent on a pre-philosophical field. Merleau-Ponty thus transforms philosophy, revealing a philosophy of tomorrow: a new way of doing philosophy that, because it is grounded in pre-reflective contingency, has to wait to describe its beginnings, and so (...) has to keep studying its beginnings tomorrow. This does not destroy Husserl’s project of a transcendental philosophy, it just accepts that the transcendental conditions of philosophy cannot be constituted or even revealed via wholly active or autonomous reflection. Merleau-Ponty thus brings phenomenology down to earth by expanding it into a phenomenology of life and earth that describes the concrete beginnings of phenomena and phenomenology. (shrink)
Using birth stories as our object of inquiry, this article examines the ways in which normative discourses about gender, disability and Down syndrome construct the birth stories of three mothers of children with Down syndrome. Their stories are composed of the mothers’ recollections of the first hours after birth as a time when their infants are separated from them and their postpartum needs are ignored. Together, their stories illustrate socio-cultural tropes that position Down syndrome as a dangerous (...) form of the “other” and mothers who give birth to children with Down syndrome as implicated in transgressing cultural norms. (shrink)
The smallest ambition of this essay is to demonstrate that Rider, the central character in William Faulkner’s short story “Pantaloon in Black,” cannot be understood. This may be of some interest to Faulkner specialists. But the fact that he cannot be understood has ramifications, because “Pantaloon in Black,” seems to be the anomaly of the book Go Down, Moses, which is either a collection of stories or a novel, depending on the success one has in integrating “Pantaloon in Black” into (...) it. If Rider cannot be understood, then Go Down, Moses has an enigma at the center of its mysteries, around which it cannot be made to cohere.More important to nonspecialists is the question of why Rider cannot be understood, and, consequently, why Go Down, Moses disintegrates. To answer this I want to perform the logical operation modus tollens on Stanley Fish’s idea that interpretations are produced by interpretive communities: if interpretations fail, then it must be because interpretive communities fail. Of course, Fish everywhere argues that interpretations must always, on the contrary, succeed; the lesson of Is There a Text in This Class? is that interpretive communities produce texts inexorably and inevitably in their own image. But Fish’s idea of an interpretive community is something like the Modern Language Association, or the set of all English professors, or the Yale school—bigger or smaller machines perfectly programmed for producing texts out of theoretical presuppositions. What is, however, even English professors are members of communities that fit the definition of an interpretive community, by virtue of the fact that they speak through our readings, but which are not chiefly engaged in the manufacture of masterful criticism? Worse: what if these communities speak a different language from those to which we professionally belong? Worse yet: what is they are disintegrating even as the MLA, or the Yale school, endures, or prevails?The point is not that Fish is wrong; it is that he has oversimplified his sense of a text by reducing it to the instrument of communication used by professor speaking to other professors. But in “Pantaloon in Black,” Faulkner has formed a text in the image of a Southern Negro and invited us to join an interpretive community on the model of Yoknapatawpha County. Insofar as we take up that invitation, we fail to understand his story; insofar as we reject it, we also fail to understand his story. The paradox is the result of our being forced to join a community which does not cohere; to the degree that that community fails to cohere, so does our reading. What Faulkner says to Fish is that the American belief in the power of interpretive communities is akin to an idealist’s dream of an integrated South. John Limon is assistant professor of English at Williams College. He is currently working on a book, Half-Sight of Science, on the history of the American novel in relation to the history of science and science philosophy. (shrink)
When Washington Shut Down Wall Street unfolds like a mystery story. It traces Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo's triumph over a monetary crisis at the outbreak of World War I that threatened the United States with financial disaster. The biggest gold outflow in a generation imperiled America's ability to repay its debts abroad. Fear that the United States would abandon the gold standard sent the dollar plummeting on world markets. Without a central bank in the summer of 1914, the United (...) States resembled a headless financial giant. William McAdoo stepped in with courageous action, we read in Silber's gripping account. He shut the New York Stock Exchange for more than four months to prevent Europeans from selling their American securities and demanding gold in return. He smothered the country with emergency currency to prevent a replay of the bank runs that swept America in 1907. And he launched the United States as a world monetary power by honoring America's commitment to the gold standard. His actions provide a blueprint for crisis control that merits attention today. McAdoo's recipe emphasizes an exit strategy that allows policymakers to throttle a crisis while minimizing collateral damage. When Washington Shut Down Wall Street recreates the drama of America's battle for financial credibility. McAdoo's accomplishments place him alongside Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan as great American financial leaders. McAdoo, in fact, nursed the Federal Reserve into existence as the 1914 crisis waned and served as the first chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. (shrink)
The present essay offers a brief commentary on Paul Klee’s The Tightrope Walker. Klee’s painting is brought into connection with Nietzsche’s famous figure of the Seiltänzer in the prologue to Thus Spoke Zarathustra and to the recent film, Man on Wire. The general context of the essay, “descensional reflection,” is inspired by Heidegger’s remark that thinking in our time is “on the descent” from metaphysics.
A personable teenager with Down'ssyndrome became a Canadian cause célèbre a few months ago when University Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, denied him a position on the organ transplantation waiting list. Terry Urquart lacked “reasonable” intelligence, hospital officials said, a criterion for all transplant candidates at that hospital. Protests by the boy's family, and by groups active in the cause of those with developmental disabilities, became well-photographed stories on the nightly television news and in the nation's newspapers. It (...) did not hurt the Urquart cause one bit that the 17-year-old teenager had won a gold medal in skiing at the International Special Olympics. (shrink)