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Decisions for impaired newborns

Decisions for Impaired Newborns al Affiliation Is life defect better than no life at all? Life defect is not better than life. For instance, children born with Tay Sachs a painful genetic disease that causes paralysis and blindness is not curable and the patient is only subject to die at some point in life (Emmons, 2012). Instead of giving birth and exposing the infant to a painful life, immobility, swallowing difficulties, and a deformed brain that are incurable, abortion would be an act of love since it would eliminate any form of suffering. It is for this reason that women should be empowered to decide, whether or not to progress with pregnancy, with as much information as possible.
2. Do you think there is an ethical difference between aborting a baby due to genetic testing and giving birth to the baby and not performing surgery (such that the baby is left to die without interference)?
There is no ethical difference. For children born with severe birth defects due to causes that occurred during the first, second, or third trimester and were identified, aborting this baby, and giving birth to the baby suffering from diseases that cannot have surgery performed. In the United States, it is possible to screen for genetic diseases on embryos prior to their implantation to the womb (Nelson, 2009). For an embryo with severe genetic defects that will be incurable even after birth, the ethical questions in aborting this child will be similar to the ethical questions asked for giving birth to a child suffering from a disease that parents will do nothing to stop them from dying.
Who should make decisions for impaired newborns? The Doctors? The Parents? The Courts?
Sade (2011) highlights that parents should have the final decisions on the treatment of their impaired infants. However, the parents must make informed decisions especially for infants with severe conditions like anencephaly where they are born with brains that nearly fail to develop completely. According to Wilkinson (2006), doctors must seek to explain to such parents that such infants do not have anatomical substrate for motor and cognition coordination, and the sensory processing. Furthermore, parents must understand that anencephaly infants have a hard time accepting any form of deep nurturing or personal relationships. However, McHaffie, Laing, Parker, & McMillan (2001) confirms that doctors must seek opinions of other specialists and ensure no impartial presentation of information to parents.
Emmons, S. (2012, February 29). A Short Life of Suffering vs. No Life at All. Parenting.
McHaffie, E., Laing, I., Parker, M., & McMillan, J. (2001). Deciding for imperilled newborns: medical authority or parental autonomy? Journal of Medical Ethics, 27(2), 104-109.
Nelson, L. (2009, October 20). Ethical Issues With Prenatal and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. The Technology Citizen.
Sade, R. (2011). Locus of Decision Making for Severely Impaired Newborn Infants. Journal of Bioethics, 11(2), 40-41.
Wilkinson, D. (2006). Is it in the best interests of an intellectually disabled infant to die? Journal of Medical Ethics, 32(8), 454 – 459.

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