Document Type



"The Margaret Gruter Prize."


In the past half-century, medical advances in prenatal and neonatal care have recast the moral landscape at the edge of life, death, and disability. Genetic screening technologies make it possible to discern characteristics of the unborn and abort on the basis of prenatal disability. Improvements in neonatal care allow doctors to save newborns previously beyond hope, many of whom possess disabilities that can be treated but cannot be cured. These advances have thrust a pair of intractable questions upon parents, prospective parents, and the law. When is it acceptable to have an abortion on the basis of prenatal disability? When is it acceptable to refuse lifesaving treatment on the basis of neonatal disability? More broadly, when may new parents and prospective parents choose death rather than nascent life with a disability?

Date of Authorship for this Version

Spring 2009