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Bioethics, Disability, and Selective Reproductive Technology: Taking Intersectionality Seriously

Chapter in book
Authors Christian Munthe
Published in Wassermann, DT & Cureton, A (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability
ISBN 9780190622879
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, UK
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords disability theory, discrimination, identity politics, injustice, intersectional theory, oppression, prenatal screening, reproductive technology, social identity
Subject categories Practical philosophy, Ethics, Medical Ethics, Gender Studies, Technology and social change, Disability research


This chapter explores disability-based criticism against what is here called selective reproductive technology (SRT) such as prenatal screening programs in light of recent calls for disability theory, as well as political activism based on that, to accommodate for an intersectional turn across all types of critical social identity studies (class, disability, gender, LGBT, queer, race, etc.). Applying intersectionality to the disability SRT critique generates complex and provoking implications, not invalidating it but radically transforming its shape and direction. Most notably, it inserts a wedge between the identity-based experience that SRT unjustly discriminates and oppresses disabled people and the identity political call for SRT programs to be shut down or at least not publicly supported. Intersectionality steers the justification toward politically addressing structural factors explaining injustice independently of identity-based experience, and SRT programs may have to be allowed for such action to be sustainable also from a disability identity standpoint.

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