The rhetorical construction of ethical positions: policy recommendations for nontherapeutic genetic testing in childhood.

Communication & medicine

PubMedID: 17129202

Hogben S, Boddington P. The rhetorical construction of ethical positions: policy recommendations for nontherapeutic genetic testing in childhood. Commun Med. 2006;3(2):135-46.
Nontherapeutic genetic testing in childhood raises many ethical concerns within and beyond the clinic. We examine six key position statements from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States that present ethical guidelines for good practice in clinical nontherapeutic childhood testing. Using a discourse-analytic perspective that focuses on the use of rhetorical contrasts, we identify how these statements argue for recommendations with distinctly different modalities for different types of nontherapeutic genetic testing. This comes about because of the interaction between a number of contrastive descriptions. It is dependent on how the genetic information resulting from testing is differentiated on a cline of seriousness, how such an evaluation is premised on a network of assumptions about the status of reproduction in people's lives, and the related selective deployment of ethical principles that foregrounds the self over others.