Sociomedical and Ethical Dilemmas in Fetal Medicine

  • Charles L. Bosk


Freud, in his despairing lament on progress and modernity, Civilization and Its Discontents, asked: Why should he be grateful for the advances in transportation and communication that enabled him to be in touch with loved ones at a distance when, without such technological advances, his loved ones would never have had either the capacity or the motivation to leave the family circle in the first place?1 In the 50-plus years since the original publication of Freud’s essay, our own awareness of the perils of progress has only deepened. The arena where our own ambivalence about technologic advance is the most apparent is the medical arena. At every turn, we are dazzled by new capacities and, at the same time, confused about how to apply them in ways that augment rather than shrink our humanity. To reask Freud’s question in a slightly altered form: Why be grateful for the ability to prolong life, if, by so doing, we only increase suffering?


Sickle Cell Anemia Ethical Dilemma Color Blindness Fetal Medicine Fetal Diagnosis 
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Copyright information

© Aubrey Milunsky and George J. Annas 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles L. Bosk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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