What is Undesirable?

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The Special Olympics is a program, which prides itself in promoting people with handicaps of physical or mental nature to achieve what they may consider to be impossible. During the summers I work with our local group as a part of their Equestrian team and have met some outstanding people. For example the girl that I specifically work with in the program has a physical handicap, which binds her to a wheel chair. She had always dreamed of riding a horse, but was extremely afraid about putting herself in the position of being dependent on three mentors and a potentially unpredictable animal. The first day she walked one lap of the ring, with her Dad by her side, and three other people hanging on. By the day she competed in the Special Olympics, she was able to ride with us only present as spotters. She is an amazing and inspiring girl who I am lucky to have the chance to know. Now what if through a genetic testing procedure called Prenatal testing her parents had figured out that she would have come out with this handicap? Seeing as prenatal testing makes it possible to identify fetuses that will have disabilities like hers, or mental retardation, would knowing have caused them to abort her supposedly undesirable fetus? Determining her worth by her genetics alone. This selective abortion technique could also be construed as a modern form of Eugenics, and the breeding of a genetically superior race. Views like this put a twist on not only the ethical debate of genetics but provides insight into the ethics of abortion as well.

5 Comments

Making a choice like that must be extremely difficult. I can't even imagine it. That being said, I think it undoubtedly should be a personal choice. When something is that hard to decide, when there are so many considerations to take into account, the state and the society at large should not get involved. Every couple should be able to make the decision they feel is best without other people shoving opinions down their throat. Any government-enforced position, whether it be that fetus’s with certain abnormalities must be terminated or that all fetuses must be carried to term, would severely impede on civil liberties.

I think that learning that your baby has Trisomy 8/Edward's Syndrome would be especially hard. 50% of children with Trisomy 8 are stillborn. Less than 10% of the surviving children make it past one year old. The medical equipment to keep Trisomy 8 babies and children is extremely expensive. I think that any person who would tell a mother carrying a Trisomy 8 baby that she has to carry it to term has to be willing to personally front all of the substantial medical costs. Any person who would tell a mother carrying a Trisomy 8 baby that she has to terminate it should be slapped with a civil suit for emotional damages incurred by forcing an abortion.

I agree with the person above that making that choice would be extremely difficult for some people. And I think it is great what you do with those handicapped kids. Giving them the pleasures just as any other human could do. But should genetic testing be allowed? Would someone not attempt to make a "perfect" person, which would go against many religions?

I think it's amazing that you devote time to work with handicapped kids, truly inspirational. I agree that prenatal testing should be a personal choice, and I also believe that abortion should be a personal choice. However, I cannot imagine a scenario where if a woman was undoubtedly going through with her pregnancy and had a prenatal testing done to find a defect in her baby, she would get an abortion just because of that.

First of all, what a wonderful program! As with all the prior comments prenatal testing and abortion should be a personal choice made with considerable thought and education. I did some research back in high school on the Human Genome Project, which maps all the genes and can locate genetic disorders and possibly tell what diseases you are at risk for and information like that, and it raised similar questions. One of which being, just because I can know, should I know? That ends up becoming a very controversial and ethical question that is not yet solved. And it strikes me as similar with the eugenics point you raised at the end of your post. Genetics is just such an emotionally charged topic.

I agree with the previous comments as well. To insert my personal opinion, I agree with the woman in the piece who said we are 100% better off knowing, when it comes to highly life affecting conditions such as autism and down's syndrome. But I think that's where I would draw the line- at healthy. There is no gene for the human spirit, development, and ambition.

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This page contains a single entry by rayer004 published on April 22, 2012 3:44 PM.

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