Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Unnatural Selection: Chapter 2

Like chapter 1, this chapter explores the question of genetic testing for such diseases as Tay-Sachs. However, it extends it by describing a Polish-American woman with one Jewish grandmother and that woman's developing infant. This provides opportunity for the author to explore AFP testing versus amniocentesis versus ultrasound (the woman eventually chose the ultrasound and ended up bearing a healthy, normal baby anyway, reminiscent of this post by Right Girl).

Several ethical issues are also alluded to, including the meaning of "voluntary," whether genetic testing is worth all it's touted to be, coercion, the researcher-physician dichotomy, and the tendency of people being tested not to be given informed choices. I found this quote interesting, particularly when viewed in light of today's so-called abortion ["freedom to choose"] rights (emphasis in original):
"We need to reassess what 'choice' is for women," writes psychologist Robyn Rowland. "In gaining the choice to control the quality of our children, we may lose the choice not to control the quality; the choice of simply accepting them as they are."
Lo and behold, the title of the next chapter is "Choices."

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