Autonomy, equality, and respect for difference: investigating principle-based approaches to technologically mediated reproductive contexts
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The objective of this project will be to explore how the principles of autonomy, equality, and respect for difference are formulated and applied when disability diagnostic technologies affect women's reproductive decision-making. The author will use feminist disability theory and will engage legal research methodology in order to interpret and challenge those three principles as they are presented in both bioethics and jurisprudence. Specifically, the following questions will be explored: • • • Does reproductive autonomy lead to undue maternal responsibilities, especially in instances when disabilities can be or have been diagnosed? Are there tensions between reproductive autonomy and reproductive equality, specifically between reproductive autonomy on the one hand, and disability equality on the other? Does the (either implicit or explicit) assumption in bioethics and law that reproductive technologies be used for the purpose of disability de-selection reflect tensions between reproductive autonomy and equality on the one hand, and the principle of respect for difference on the other? This research will identify the principles at the heart of discourses and disagreements on reproductive decision-making in an effort to clarify how these principles are being conceptualized, to evaluate whether there is still use for a principle-based approach, and to consider what their best instantiations would look like.