Å granske hjerter og nyrer: Ultralydens etikk
Arbeiderpartiet og Sosialistisk Venstreparti har foreslått tilbud om en ekstra ultralydundersøkelse, «tidlig ultralyd», for alle gravide i uke 11–13. Vi stiller oss kritisk til dette dersom formålet er fosterdiagnostikk. For fosterdiagnostikk kan lede til selektiv abort, en praksis som ikke er forenlig med prinsippet om menneskers likeverd.
Trying hearts and kidneys: the ethics of ultrasound
Several Norwegian political parties have suggested a state-sponsored ultrasound scan for all pregnant women during weeks 11-13, so-called ”early ultrasound”. We argue that the legitimacy of its implementation crucially depends on whether it would be performed for the sake of prenatal diagnosis, or for the sake of health benefits for mother or foetus. We hold the view that prenatal diagnostics is incompatible with society’s commitment to the fundamental idea of the equal worth of every citizen, and develop a particular “equal worth argument” to demonstrate why and how this is the case. This argument purports to show that, just as sex-selective abortion is incompatible with the equal worth of males and females, so selective abortion due to disease is incompatible with the equal worth of all citizens regardless of diseases, conditions and abilities. However, if early ultrasound really brings considerable health benefits, then in a societal perspective the increased abortion rate that will follow may be justified by the Doctrine of Double Effect as an unintended side effect. However, as of today, reviews of the scientific literature show that such health benefits are negligible.