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Conceptual Version of Prenatal Diagnosis against People with Disabilities (Essay Sample)


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Conceptual Version of Prenatal Diagnosis against People with Disabilities
In this paper, I will explain what Lynn Gillam calls the “conceptual version” of the argument that prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion in cases of disability discriminate against people with disabilities. First, I will provide a basic definition of the key terms, that is, prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion. I will then give an explanation of what the conceptual argument is all about in terms of judgment, discrimination, and selective abortion. Further, I will provide an explanation f Gillam’s response to the argument and finally give an objection that may arise from a specific feature of Gillam’s response. I will conclude with a summary of the sections covered in the paper.
Basic Definitions
Prenatal diagnosis is a process through which a doctor checks the condition of a developing baby to detect whether there any problems that could affect the baby once it is born. This gives women and parents enough information to determine how they will proceed with the pregnancy. Selective abortion involves terminating a pregnancy after prenatal diagnosis has revealed some anomalies with the fetus.
Discriminatory Judgments and the Conceptual Argument
Judgments can be discriminatory if first, they determine how a person should be treated and second if they belittle a person’s worth and access to human rights. Thus, prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion could be discriminatory because they seem to assign less value to people with disabilities by positing that their lives are of lower quality. As such, they seem to be saying that people with disabilities should be treated with less respect. Further selective abortion might reduce the number of people with disabilities and ultimately, affect their access to rights. The conceptual version is more of a theoretical rather than a factual argument that is based on the premise that selective abortion is basically a form of discrimination against people with disabilities (Gillam 167). This is because selective abortion in cases of disability entails a quality of life judgment. This on its own is discriminatory because some disability rights advocates posit that the quality of life judgment inevitably portrays people with disabilities as being less important than people without disabilities. Selective abortion is termed as discriminatory against people with disability because there is an assumption that they lead low-quality lives than people without disabilities. In addition, the belief that the quality of life of the child-to-be would be so poor to warrant death is viewed as discriminatory because it will further cement the idea that people with disabilities go through low-quality lives.
Gillam’s Response: Quality-of-Life Judgments
The quality of life judgment is like a decision-making criterion in which different elements of an individual’s life are considered in the decision-making process. Thus, factors that would affect the future psychological, social, and physical well-being of the child-to-be are considered. In the case of selective abortion and people with disabilities, the quality of life judgment is based on two justifications. One, the best interests of the child-to-be are considered and two, a comparison of the future of the child-to-be with that of a non-disabled child (167). The first justification takes into account the quality of life that the child-to-be is likely to lead if they are born with a disability. When the assessment of the quality of life is deemed to be extremely poor, then selective abortion is carried out with the belief that death is a better option, regardless o...

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