Prenatal screening, reproductive choice, and public health

Wilkinson, Stephen (2015) Prenatal screening, reproductive choice, and public health. Bioethics, 29 (1). pp. 26-35. ISSN 0269-9702

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One widely held view of prenatal screening (PNS) is that its foremost aim is, or should be, to enable reproductive choice; this is the Pure Choice view. The paper critiques this position by comparing it with an alternative: Public Health Pluralism. It is argued that there are good reasons to prefer the latter, including the following. (1) Public Health Pluralism does not, as is often supposed, render PNS more vulnerable to eugenics-objections. (2) The Pure Choice view, if followed through it its logical conclusions, may have unpalatable implications, such as extending choice well beyond health screening. (3) Any sensible version of Public Health Pluralism will be capable of taking on board the moral seriousness of abortion and will advocate, where practicable, alternative means of reducing the prevalence of disease and disability. (4) Public Health Pluralism is at least as well-equipped as the Pure Choice model to deal with autonomy consent issues.

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© 2014 The Authors. Bioethics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? autonomyreproductionprenatal screeningpublic healthphilosophyhealth(social science)health policy ??
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14 Jul 2014 08:02
Last Modified:
07 Mar 2024 00:34