People with disabilities come to the genetic screening debate from a perspective that perplexes many scientists and medical professionals. We are purportedly the ones helped by genetic advances, yet we are critical of much of the research. Those with disabilities who have lived their lives creatively managing the logistics of a disability, as well as fighting disability discrimination, may regard the new genetic "options" as a way to promote selective abortion. In an attempt to "eliminate disability," medical science may harbor motivations that spur the prenatal technologies in the direction of eliminating disabled people before they are born rather than addressing fundamental social causes of disability discrimination and the resulting lowered socio-economic status of citizens with disabilities.
This article explores the social origins of disability discrimination and its implications for prenatal diagnosis, and examines some of the objections to screening expressed by people with disabilities.
Definitions of Disability
Disability policy scholars describe four different historical and social models of disability: (1) A moral model of disability which regards disability as the result of sin; (2) A medical model of disability...