The Ideological Context of the Disability Rights Critique: Where Modernity and Tradition Meet

Document Type


Publication Title

Florida State University Law Review

Publication Date



This article situates the disability rights critique of prenatal testing, embryo selection, and selective abortion within a wider discourse about the scope and meaning of family. The work of those associated with thecritique often belies expectations about visions of family and therein provides a fruitful context within which to examine the dimensions of the ideology of personhood in terms of which Americans contemplate theshifting contours of family relationships. More specifically, the article explores the ideological implications ofthe critique's efforts to sustain a pro-choice position with regard to abortion generally while frowing on abortions intended to select against embryos or fetuses identified as carrying disabling traits. The exploration aims to contextualize each position within a wider social debate about the parameters of family life.