June 26, 2010
Fordham: “Disability and Designer Babies: Rethinking the Debate Over Genetic Interventions in Favor of Disability”
Brigham A. Fordham has posted Disability and Designer Babies: Rethinking the Debate Over Genetic Interventions in Favor of Disability, Valparaiso University Law Review, Forthcoming (2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This Article considers the consequences of attempting to hold parents liable in tort for making genetic decisions in favor of socially disfavored physical attributes, such as disabilities. A legal scheme that asks judges and juries to separate “good” physical attributes from “bad” ones is problematic, especially when dealing with disabilities. Parents, who have personal experience with the physical traits in question, are better equipped to decide what is best for their offspring than jurors who have less experience and less at stake. Using the “open future” framework to second-guess parental decisions about socially disfavored physical traits only disrupts the parent-child relationship and suggests that discriminatory attitudes are natural and acceptable.
Moreover, the concern over genetic interventions in favor of disability is largely misplaced. Disabled parents who want disabled children are few in number and diverse in purpose. The recent focus on these parents in the debate over genetic intervention improperly assumes that such parents are incapable of making good choices and that the physical traits they prefer are inherently damning.
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