Pre-Natal Testing- A Success in Genetics or a New Facet of Disability Discrimination? - A Critical Review

Fullard, Rachael (2009) Pre-Natal Testing- A Success in Genetics or a New Facet of Disability Discrimination? - A Critical Review. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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The problem of disability is evident in historical and contemporary western society. Medical and social theorists, experts, activists, and advocates have attempted to explain, control and solve the problem of disability. In recent years, disability rights activists have been integral in the push for equality. Concurrently, technological advancement has led to the availability to pre-natal testing for foetal impairment with the option of termination. This has been welcomed by some as a successful and necessary measure to prevent pain and suffering. However others argue that testing is a discriminatory measure offensive to those living with disabilities.


The aim was to examine the debate surrounding pre-natal testing, considering the issues of disability in society past and present. Roles and implications of health professionals including nurses were considered.


A critical review method was employed, using literature from various sources, including books, journals, websites and reference lists. Searching included the use of online databases, electronic library searches and hand-searches.


Disability problems re-emerge at various points in history and pre-natal testing can be argued to be the latest facet of such, involving current law, attitudes and health professional practice. However issues such as the wider abortion debate, the moral status of the foetus and the individualistic, autonomous nature of western culture prove arguments to be complex and intensely debated. It can be questioned whether health professionals who deliver antenatal care have adequate knowledge of testing and disability issues.


Pre-natal testing has similarities to the negative historical treatment of those with disabilities. However it would be minimalistic to suggest that pre-natal testing is entirely discriminatory. Any future testing should be assessed in terms of necessity before being included within national health care. Good health professional practice is essential to allow parents to independently make choices about pre-natal testing and termination.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2009 11:31
Last Modified: 14 May 2016 00:37

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