Ethicist supports “positive” eugenics: likens current practice to Nazi policies

Julian Savulescu, an ethicist at the University of Oxford, argues that the current practice of using prenatal screening and abortion to eliminate embryos suspected of having disabilities or diseases is akin to Nazi eugenic policies, which were also directed at eliminating the ‘unfit.’  He supports the use of prenatal testing to identify and destroy embryos with disease or disabilities as long as it is understood that this implies nothing about the moral status of disabled people, but argues that people should also be able to select for desirable characteristics, like intelligence or sex.  His position is that “freedom of reproduction” can be restricted “for social purposes,” but only if the purposes are “uncontroversially good,” the restrictions are necessary, and that no less restrictive policies would be workable. [News Limited]

Parents said to have duty to apply eugenics, use artificial reproduction

A number of bioethicists argue that some parents who use in vitro fertilization- those believed to be at risk for transmitting serious genetic disorders – should be compelled by law to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to produce unimpaired offspring: even to use only artificial reproduction and PGD.[Bioedge][American Journal of Bioethics]

‘Wrongful birth’ award in Oregon

Parents of a child with Down Syndrome have been awarded  $2.9 million (U.S.) damages on the grounds that they would have aborted her had the condition been diagnosed during pregnancy.  The award is based on the estimated extra lifetime costs of caring for someone with Down syndrome. [ABC News]