Selecting for deafness – a marvellous opportunity or imposed dependence?



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Ethics and Bioethics (in Central Europe)
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords deafness; disability; impairment; harm; discrimination; right to an open future; dependency
Description The paper focuses on the question of whether it is morally permissible to use reproductive technologies to select children with congenital deafness. I review the arguments that have been presented to support the claims that the lack of hearing is not overall bad, that disability is caused by social discrimination rather than impairment, that the community of deaf people gives its members plenty of opportunities to lead a happy life, and that procreative decisions need not improve the world. I argue that although the claims are, to a certain extent, reasonable, they fail to establish the conclusion that selecting for deafness is morally permissible. I further argue that the decision to select a deaf child is morally wrong because it results in imposed and needless dependency, that the happiness of a deaf child is conditioned by their confinement to a relatively small community, and that the deaf parents who reject their child’s potential biculturalism are motivated by questionably self-regarding reasons.
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