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Prenatal Testing and Counseling

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Prenatal testing and counseling is in the hub of heated a discussion among professionals due to the fact that these procedures are likely to lead to pregnancy termination if certain conditions are identified by the obstetricians and other board-certified physicians.
Prenatal testing and counseling are tightly connected to the concept of reproductive autonomy of parents. This forms the foundation for defensive strategies of advocates of such practices around the world. The main argument that is put forward is the fact that future parents deserve to be aware of whether a fetus carries a disabling trait or other forms of conditions. Counseling is important since it includes a discussion of how the very testing procedure should be implemented, what it can detect (descriptions of chromosomes and genes), and what it might mean for an affected child. Prenatal testing and counseling do not always lead to termination of pregnancy.

For some parents these procedures represent the way of preparing themselves for the future. In some cases, pregnant women are not only willing, but anxious to promote the welfare of their future children, regardless of the hardships to be encountered (Mahowald, 2007). By undergoing the procedure they explore their own views about family and children, reassess their abilities to raise a child with conditions detected as a result of prenatal testing, and discuss available economic and social resources for future assistance and support (Parens & Asch, 2000).

Major opponents of the given procedures argue that testing and selection practices applied by obstetricians and parents are misleadingly dominated by the modern medical model of disability as well as carry discriminatory implications. It is also believed that prenatal testing and counseling might lead to the loss of support to people with disabilities in the society. The fact that these practices become of more routine nature and in many cases lead to termination of pregnancy gives way to a widely-shared view that people with disabilities should not be or have been born (Scott, 2005).

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