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J Med Ethics 28:130 doi:10.1136/jme.28.2.130-a

Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights

Edited by E Parens, A Asch. Georgetown University Press, 2000, £46.75 (hb), £17.25 (sb), pp 371. ISBN 0-87840-804-5

Here is a book that should be read by all those involved in the fields of prenatal diagnosis and genetic counselling. It is based on a two year project set up in the late 1990s by the Hastings Center in New York, in which prenatal testing and its likely future advances were discussed, from their contrasting viewpoints, by professionals providing such services and those committed to promoting disability rights. Exchanges between a group who see any form of prenatal testing for malformation as an unacceptable affront to those with disability and those who offer such testing in their daily routine will inevitably be difficult. And, reading between the lines it seems likely that the project nearly foundered. One original intention was to develop guidelines concerning which anomalies might warrant prenatal diagnosis and abortion, and which were too mild for such action. The disability rights members could not …

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