Ethical Issues of Prenatal Testing in Contemporary Times: The Contribution of a Consequentialist Approach
The living fetus has become object of study of medicine only recently, i.e., since the 1960s. The development of prenatal testing and diagnosis has allowed couples and pregnant women to be offered tests that are designed to identify serious in utero conditions, that is, conditions that are considered as incurable at the time of diagnosis. The scientific advances in prenatal diagnosis have also given rise to serious ethical reflections. Jonathan Glover makes a major contribution to this reflection by emphasising the importance of taking into account both the direct consequences and the ‘side-effects’ of a particular practice. This paper first discusses Glover’s perspective on the development of prenatal diagnosis, which he developed over the course of several decades, and focuses then on our current context which is characterized by a so-called “non-invasive” prenatal testing and the development of genomics. Using Glover’s approach, which pays particular attention to the effects of a decision, this paper identifies ethical issues that are particular to our time. The paper concludes that prenatal testing, despite being “non-invasive” from a biological point of view, still raises many ethical issues.
Copyright (c) 2019 Marie Gaille
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