Genetics

Genetics has received a great deal of attention from disability studies, but largely confined to one issue: the practice of routinely aborting fetuses found to have a genetic or chromosomal “abnormality.” Opposition to this practice has been based on several related themes that are central to disability scholarship. First, an actual or potential person should not be judged by a single characteristic, however salient. Second, a person’s biological endowment does not determine how well (or not) his or her life will develop and what criteria are used to make such judgments. Third, social and physical environments play a pervasive role in determining how well a person’s life goes (Parens and Asch 2007; Asch and Barlevy, 2012).

Disability scholarship can and should make a broader contribution to ethical and policy issues in human genetics. Beyond raising doubts about prenatal selection, it can also shine a critical light on the growing reliance …

This essay may be found on page 92 of the printed volume.

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