204378 Finding common ground on disability and reproductive autonomy: Analysis of a federal bill on prenatal genetic testing

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:10 PM

Adrienne Asch, PhD, MSW , Center for Ethics, Yeshiva University, New York, NY
Disability advocacy groups and reproductive rights and justice organizations share an interest in pregnant women receiving unbiased, nondirective information about prenatal genetic conditions. Many people are concerned that pregnant women receive negatively biased information about what it means to have a child with a disability, shaped by negative societal attitudes toward disability. The reproductive rights movement is concerned about policy that legislates the kind of information pregnant women receive, and advocates are committed to ensuring that any such policy does not undermine a woman's right to choose whether and when to have children. The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, passed in 2008, is an example of federal legislation that provides better information and support to pregnant women and new mothers whose fetus or newborn is diagnosed with a disability, without undermining abortion rights. While the bill was authored by an anti-choice legislator, it was co-authored by a pro-choice Senator who preserved reproductive autonomy in the language of the bill. This presentation will address the tensions that exist between the reproductive rights and disability rights communities on issues related to prenatal genetic testing, and the positive opportunity for common ground offered by the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. By providing more comprehensive information and resources, the Act may simultaneously expand women's reproductive options and challenge the negative information women have historically received about raising a child with a disability.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the tensions between disability rights and reproductive rights advocates on prenatal genetic testing 2.Describe the importance of disability rights and reproductive rights advocates working together in support of, rather than undermining, each otherís goals 3. Recognize how a bipartisan federal bill can support the efforts of both the reproductive rights and disability rights movements

Keywords: Genetics, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have written on this topic for 27 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.