The case of the missing hand; or, gender, disability and bodily norms
Assoc. Prof Catherine Mills (Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University)

September 27, 2013, 7:15pm - 9:15pm
Department of Philosophy, Monash University

Room S110, 1st Floor, Building 11 (Menzies)
55 Wellington Road
Clayton 3800
Australia

Organisers:

Karen Green
Monash University

Details

Abstract: The practice of terminating a pregnancy following the diagnosis of a fetal malformation raises questions about notions of bodily normality and the ways these shape ethical decision-making. This is particularly the case with terminations on the basis of ostensibly minor morphological anomalies, such as cleft lip and missing limbs or digits. In this paper, I examine a recent case of selective termination after a morphology ultrasound scan revealed the fetus to be missing a hand (acheiria). Using the work of Georges Canguilhem, I show that a person with acheiria could be considered normal. On the basis of this, I suggest that the ethics of disability termination are not as distinct from those of sex selection as is commonly supposed. To make this point, I also consider the interaction of ideas about disability with ideas about gender. I show that this case reveals a kind of 'undecidability' in the significance of fetal sex and disability in the ethics of selective termination.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)

Reminders

Registration

No

Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?


Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.