One topic which didn't make this issue was addressed last week by Professor Jennifer Collins of Concurring Opinions and by Professor Ann Althouse. An essay in the New York Times noted that, thanks to modern DNA selection and in vitro fertilization techniques, prospective parents with disabilities are able to select embryos with markers for the same disabilities to maximize the chances that their children will share their handicaps. Collins asked, "Should doctors go along with such requests from fertility patients?" In my view, Galen had the answer to that question 1800 years before the rise of advance reproductive technologies; he wrote, "first, do no harm" (Latin: "primum non nocere"). Professor Frank Pasquale had a more thoughtful response (than mine, not Galen's) in a comment to Collins' post:
[O]ne of the normative guideposts I take seriously in contemplating the ethics of reproduction is the Jonas-ian principle of "openness to the unbidden" . . . . And I think that, to the extent that we might want to invoke this principle to avoid eugenics, we should also be willing to apply it to limit parental autonomy in cases like this.
Next week, David Harlow will host Blawg Review #88 at HealthBlawg.