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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter on prenatal diagnosis explores the obligations on prospective parents to act morally. Specifically, the chapter explores the highly contextual and variable nature of reproductive decision making when looking at (and criticizing) parental choice with respect to prenatal testing and selective termination. The chapter engages both with those critics who argue that disability should not be grounds for selective termination of pregnancy, and those critics who argue that not only testing for significant medical conditions but also wider testing for non-medical traits might be permissible or useful. It is argued that decisions around prenatal diagnosis are private, difficult, and entail the balancing of different concerns around abortion, disability, and the good life. The chapter then explores the usefulness of the Aristotelian concepts of excess and deficiency, as a guide to navigating our way through these difficult decisions. The idea is considered that too much selection and too little selection might both potentially represent a failure to act as a virtuous prospective parent. The chapter concludes by exploring the value of seeking the Aristotelian “mean” between those concerns.

Keywords: context, Aristotle, excess, deficiency, mean, prenatal screening, disability, parenting, selective termination of pregnancy

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