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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

The scientific community stands on the brink of knowing and potentially controlling our genetic makeup. The ability to isolate the genes responsible for a variety of diseases and character traits is expanding exponentially. Prospective parents are being given access to this technology through the willingness of research laboratories to perform prenatal genetic testing. The practice of prenatal genetic screening has already become widespread and promises to increase dramatically as the reliability of genetic testing improves. A society in which prospective parents have the ability to control the genetic makeup of their children is becoming a reality.

This expansion in scientific knowledge has not been accompanied by a concomitant increase in the public policy discussion of issues surrounding the practice of prenatal genetic screening. Mr. Malinowski argues that society has not adequately confronted the ethical and legal implications that have been created by the increasing ability of prospective parents to determine the genetic makeup of their unborn children. This Article uses the technique of legal storytelling to explore the issues raised by prenatal genetic screening. Mr. Malinowski offers a number of concrete suggestions that public policy makers should consider in formulating the necessary response to the technological revolution in genetic screening technology and concludes by suggesting that such technology should be welcomed, albeit with caution and foresight.

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