Prenatal Testing Controversy in Medical Ethics

The eugenics movement is an extremely tragic time in the history of health care. Its ideas led to not only some of the worst atrocities of World War Two but also several harmful events in pre-war and post-war periods. I always believed that this was a completely unethical practice that should never become popular again. However, prenatal testing does not serve the same function for various reasons, and above all, it is ethical according to care ethics. The patient should always be informed about their condition, and hiding it even though a safe testing method is available would be unethical. However, the same could be said about presenting the test results without giving a full explanation of the condition.

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I believe that response C is the most ethical because it urges the physician to give a full rundown of what Down syndrome is and how it may affect the child. Also, it does not single out Down syndrome. This allows the patient to avoid an immediate stigma around the condition and examine it from an unbiased point of view. After reading the testing scenario, I believe that I have gained a better understanding of this issue and that some of my previous notions about it became more complex. The current way of presenting this test could indeed lead to a higher abortion rate and possible abortion of children who could live a healthy life (Maxwell, Bower, & O’Leary, 2015). However, I believe that educating the family on this issue should let them have a more informed decision as a result.


Maxwell, S., Bower, C., & O’Leary, P. (2015). Impact of prenatal screening and diagnostic testing on trends in Down syndrome births and terminations in Western Australia 1980 to 2013. Prenatal Diagnosis, 35(13), 1324–1330.

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