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Prenatal screening, ethics and Down's syndrome: a literature review

Alderson, P; (2001) Prenatal screening, ethics and Down's syndrome: a literature review. Nursing Ethics , 8 (4) pp. 360-374. 10.1177/096973300100800408. Green open access

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Abstract

This article reviews the literature on prenatal screening for Down's syndrome. To be evidence based, medicine and nursing have to take account of research evidence and also of how this evidence is processed through the influence of prevailing social and moral attitudes. This review of the extensive literature examines how appropriate widely-held understandings of Down's syndrome are, and asks whether or not practitioners and prospective parents have access to the full range of moral arguments and social evidence on the matter. Highly valued ideals of justice, personal autonomy, parental choice, women's control over their reproduction and of avoiding harm can all tend towards negative rather than neutral approaches to Down's syndrome. This article considers how ethics and prenatal screening policies and practice that take greater account of social evidence of disability could use moral arguments that inform rather than determine the choices of people who use prenatal services.

Type: Article
Title: Prenatal screening, ethics and Down's syndrome: a literature review
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/096973300100800408
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/096973300100800408
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Empirical Approach, Genetics and Reproduction, Bioethical Issues, Down Syndrome, England, Female, Humans, Pregnancy, Prenatal Diagnosis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1493960
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