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Choosing Tomorrow's ChildrenThe Ethics of Selective Reproduction$
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Stephen Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273966.001.0001

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Selecting for Disability and the Welfare of the Child

Selecting for Disability and the Welfare of the Child

Chapter:
(p.57) 3 Selecting for Disability and the Welfare of the Child
Source:
Choosing Tomorrow's Children
Author(s):

Stephen Wilkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273966.003.0003

This chapter addresses two questions. First, is there anything wrong with deliberately creating a child with a disability (such as deafness)? Second, what is the proper role of child welfare considerations in reproductive decision-making? The chapter concludes that child welfare arguments do have a role, but one that is more limited and less decisive than is commonly assumed. One reason for this is that the idea of harm only applies in very extreme cases, cases where the person created has a life that is so awful that she would be ‘better off dead’. Another is that the relationship between disability and quality of life is more complicated and less direct than is sometimes thought. For these reasons (amongst others) the chapter concludes that a general legal prohibition on selecting for disability is unwarranted, or at least cannot be justified on child welfare grounds alone.

Keywords:   child welfare, deafness, selecting for disability, harm, quality of life, reproductive decision-making, legal prohibition

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