Terminating pregnancy after prenatal diagnosis--with a little help of professional ethics?

Institute for History, Theory and Ethics in Medicine, RWTH Aachen, Wendlingweg 2, Aachen 52074, Germany.
Journal of medical ethics (Impact Factor: 1.51). 04/2012; 38(7):399-402. DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2011-100244
Source: PubMed


Termination of pregnancy after a certain gestational age and following prenatal diagnosis, in many nations seem to be granted with a special status to the extent that they by law have to be discussed within a predominantly medical context and have physicians as third parties involved in the decision-making process ('indication-based' approach). The existing legal frameworks for indication-based approaches, however, do frequently fail to provide clear guidance for the involved physicians. Critics, therefore, asked for professional ethics and professional institutions in order to provide normative guidance for the physicians in termination of pregnancy on medical grounds. After outlining the clinical pathway in an indication-based approach and the involved types of (clinical) judgements, this paper draws upon different understandings of professional ethics in order to explore their potential to provide normative guidance in termination of pregnancy on medical grounds. The analysis reveals that professional ethics will not suffice-neither as a set of established norms nor as internal morality-in order to determine the normative framework of indication-based approaches on termination of pregnancy. In addition, there seem to be considerable inconsistencies regarding the target and outcome between prenatal testing on the one hand and following termination of pregnancy on the other hand. A source of morality external to medicine has to be the basis of evaluation if a consistent and workable normative framework for termination of pregnancy and prenatal testing should be established.

7 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Prenatal diagnosis (PND) challenges the issue of parental autonomy. Two ethical aspects of the parental decision making process with reference to PND have been taken into consideration: the duty to know and the right not to know. Whilst the first approach has been widely discussed in literature, the latter seems to be overlooked. In order to find good moral reasons supporting the right not to know, firstly the duty to know approach was critically analysed. Subsequently, the emphasis was put on the unconditional parental love and the issue of child's best interests as the features supporting parental right not to know. The clarification of what is good parenthood was presented as the best normative approach supporting the parental right not to know in case of PND. Apart from parental autonomy, raising the question of the right not to know is important in the debate about the place and role of people with disabilities in society.
    Medicine Health Care and Philosophy 09/2014; 18(2). DOI:10.1007/s11019-014-9591-8 · 0.91 Impact Factor