Disability Rights

Disability rights advocates have been among the earliest and most vocal critics of emerging human genetic and assisted reproductive technologies. They are acutely aware that technologies enabling the selection of “good” genes and “normal” traits can devalue the bodies and ultimately the lives of people with disabilities. Their concerns are grounded in histories of discrimination and abuse, notably the twentieth-century state-sponsored sterilization projects in dozens of U.S. states, and the Nazi campaigns to exterminate hundreds of thousands of disabled people in German medical facilities and concentration camps. Today, disability rights advocates remind all of us to ask whether scientific innovations, including prenatal tests, embryo screening, and gene editing for reproduction, are likely to create a future that respects or devalues difference and disability as a part of the human condition.


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Jeff Johnson is 40 years old, and for all 40 of those years, he has been living with hemophilia. The genetic disorder prevents blood from properly clotting, which, if untreated, can cause uncontrollable bleeding. Yet, Johnson says, he does not...

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Celeste Blau’s first pregnancy was smooth from the beginning. She stayed active and kept working at the gelato shop she owns with her family outside of Cleveland. She wasn’t ignoring the pregnancy, exactly—it was planned—but she didn’t think of herself...

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Eugenics was a mixture of science and social movement that aimed to improve the human race over generations. Those of...

Biopolitical Times

On July 17, the UK’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics released “Genome Editing and Human Reproduction: Social and Ethical Issues...

Biopolitical Times
illustration of red blood cells

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Black and white photo of an old hospital room.

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A female, African American protester holds a sign that reads, "Sterilization of mothers violates U.N. charter. Vote No on House Bill 20."

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A black and white print depicting the exterior of the Cheshire Lunatic Asylum.

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Ultrasound image of a baby's head in black and white showing absent nasal bone indicating Down Syndrome.

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Front of Ohio State House. Lawn, building, and two American flags.

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