Ethics in Reproductive and Perinatal Medicine


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A New Framework

Carson Strong

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Advances in reproductive and perinatal medicine have given rise to difficult ethical issues. Do all women have the right to choose whether to reproduce? What is the moral status of the fetus during various stages of gestation and what obligations do parents have to the fetus during this period? In this book Carson Strong develops an ethical framework that helps resolve these and many other issues of vital concern to health professionals, policymakers, and the general public.

Strong begins by exploring the significance of reproductive freedom, drawing on constitutional law and feminist writings, among other sources. Next he assesses the moral status of offspring during preembryonic, embryonic, fetal, and postnatal stages of development, discussing the obligations of procreators during gestation and offering a new perspective on the idea that the moral standing of the fetus increases as fetal development proceeds. He then suggests an approach to the question of how priorities should be assigned to conflicting values, one that draws on a version of casuistic reasoning. In the second half of the book, Strong applies this ethical framework to some of the problematic areas in reproductive and perinatal medicine. These include prenatal genetic testing for susceptibilities to common diseases and for "enhancement" of offspring; research using preembryos and embryos; nontraditional family arrangements, such as surrogate motherhood and ovum donation for older women; and treatment of fetuses with anomalies. His discussion takes into account the clinical dimensions of issues and reflects a thorough consideration of the ethical, legal, medical, and psychosocial literature.

Carson Strong is professor in the Department of Human Values and Ethics at the College of Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis.

"This well-written and thought-provoking book attacks difficult and important issues in reproductive ethics."—Alan H. DeCherney, M.D.

"We are presented with an array of real-life, contemporary ethical dilemmas in the ever-expanding field of reproductive and perinatal medicine, and we are invited to identify 'justifiable resolutions to the complex issues.' In this well-documented, thoughtful, and clearly written book, Strong skillfully intertwines perspectives from constitutional law, traditional ethical theories, and feminist ethics."—Cheri A. Pies, New England Journal of Medicine

"Strong offers an excellent scholarly discussion of some of the most complex ethical concerns in reproductive and perinatal medicine. . . . The author's strong support for the values of privacy, respect for human beings, and autonomy of sentient adults does not detract from his search for a variety of views on each issue."—Choice

"It is rare to find such a comprehensive discussion of the reasons people might choose to reproduce. . . . This excellent book provides the best evidence yet for reconsidering the merits of casuistry for clinical care."—Julien S. Murphy, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics

"Ethics in Reproductive and Perinatal Medicine is a student's dream book. Strong presumes nothing; he elaborates the grounds for his arguments thoroughly, invoking the best philosophical and legal resources with extraordinary clarity."—James F. Keenan, America

"Strong's short but comprehensive sections on abortion and embryonic or fetal rights are among the best I have encountered. . . . [He] opens the door to a better, more interesting analysis of reproduction. "—Glenn McGee, The Journal of Legal Medicine

"This book is not intended to be a patient's guide. It is an academic work that will appeal to philosophers and health care providers that already have a background in ethical analysis."—Andres L. Kalfoglou, Religious Studies Review

"Ethics in Reporductive and Perinatal Medicine: A New Framework by Carson Strong is an important and necessary addition to the literature of ethics and reproduction. . . . The book is concise, orderly, and thoughtful and includes helpful, detailed explanatory notes. It is accessible to a wide variety of audiences and should be read by students of bioethics, physicians, and policymakers, to name a few. . . . This book is fairly priced, up-to-date, and intellectually manageable for a variety of students. It convinces them that ethical analysis has a rational pattern that can be understood and applied to contemporary issues. I hope that others will take a serious look at this volume and consider it for classroom use."—Gladys White, Medical Humanities Review

"I highly recommend this book as an important contribution to the moral debate about issues in reproductive and perinatal medicine."—Paul Lauritzen, Politics and the Life Sciences

ISBN: 9780300182989
Publication Date: April 24, 1997
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4