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The Morality and Ethics of Prenatal Diagnosis

  • John C. Fletcher

Abstract

The terms “moral" and "ethical” are used almost interchangeably in discussion by those who work in the biomedical fields. The two terms are commonly used to refer to a wide range of personal and social issues about conflicting or competing values, purposes, or legitimate means to ends (Gustafson, 1970). In this chapter, I will make a distinction between the terms that is more widely made in philosophical literature. Morality and the study of morals focus on concrete dilemmas in decisions. The moral question itself is, what should we do in this situation? Moral concern relates to immediate and existential problems. Ethics presupposes reflective distance from the problems under consideration, reflection on the consequences of our actions for human institutions, beliefs, and values. Ethical reflection means holding up choices or patterns of decision making to critical analysis in the light of cherished values, traditions, or commitments. Ethics is to morality as theory is to practice.

Keywords

Genetic Counseling Ethical Issue Sickle Cell Disease Prenatal Diagnosis Ethical Dilemma 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Aubrey Milunsky 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Fletcher
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical CenterNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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