Exploring Approach 1: My choice, my right

S Simon Public Seen by 143

According to people who support Approach 1, mothers/parents should be able to make their own decisions about reproduction.

Please focus you posts on the questions:

  • What could be some of the intended and unintended costs & consequences of doing what this approach suggests?

  • What are the tensions or conflicts we would have to work through for this Approach to be successfully implemented?

Also feel free to note additional things that a supporter might value in your posts.

In addition to responding to the focus questions, where possible give reasons for what you say and also please respond to / query / build on other people’s posts.

We’ll work on exploring approach 1 until 9.30am, Wednesday 20th. After that, each subgroup will explore a different approach and, on Friday, will start our search for common ground on what policy actions we might recommend as a group.


Jenna Robson Tue 19 Nov 2019 7:09AM

I can imagine that aligning to this approach will mean costs for the taxpayer, but in order to resolve access issues, it will need to align with things such as the community services card, and involve a well-thought our communication strategy to ensure people know what’s available and what they’re entitled to.

The extent to which testing during early pregnancy is offered will impact the extent to which there are possible options for whether to abort (assuming it I see aligned to existing laws around how many weeks). This is further impacted by what is legal, but privately funded, versus what is government funded, and in what circumstances. These will thus impact the overall costs on the taxpayer, and individual costs for mothers/families wishing to conduct certain tests. Likewise, if demand is not predicted well, and no caps placed, there may be funding issues that arise.

I do not think it will be a significant risk that a gender bias is created in New Zealand, as we do not have a one-child policy, and I can’t imagine we will go so far as allowing complete freedom through early testing - only providing details on gender when it relates to gender-specific conditions.

I think an important thing to consider here is that many mothers are having babies later, which increases the likelihood of wishing to test first. I’m not sure if in these circumstances we can test for all things in New Zealand, as I have heard people sending this to the US. Ideally, at least from the perspective of those aligning to Approach 1, such a service should be provided here.


Simon Mon 18 Nov 2019 11:25AM

What are the tensions or conflicts we would have to work through for this Approach to be successfully implemented?


John Penny Tue 19 Nov 2019 1:14AM

I don’t think that testing is a controversial subject, at least not in New Zealand. In fact, I’m surprised that access to testing is not already universal here. And I don't really think that funding it would be that controversial either. (But maybe other people have different views?)

But where I do think that New Zealanders will have the biggest conflicts will be about when it is and is not acceptable to abort the fetus. Is it ever acceptable to abort? Is it acceptable to abort for disability? If so, what types of disability? Deafness? What about intellectual disability? What about gender (that’s not associated with a genetic condition)? What about the propensity to heart disease?

People have very different opinions about these, and they are often very passionately held opinions.


Izzy Tue 19 Nov 2019 2:07AM

Although I agree with you on the most part, I do think that removing restrictions on PGD testing would also be controversial here- particularly considering the popularity of media critical about 'saviour siblings' like the book/film 'my sister's keeper'. I think a lot of Kiwis would be critical about how PGD could be used in ways that would violate the rights of the saviour sibling.


John Penny Tue 19 Nov 2019 2:40AM

Yes, that's a good point. I think you're right that that's a difficult area that there will also be a lot of disagreement, and very strongly felt opinions by some.


Margaret Aulda Tue 19 Nov 2019 3:34AM

Approach 1 is about and promotes individual choice and rights. It is the mothers/parents right to choose or not to choose reproduction. It comes down to an individual’s ethical views about life and what is right and wrong. If mothers/parents have the right to choose either to continue pregnancy or terminate it, than it will comes down to the question of what defined as life, where ethical and medical views come into play.

Mothers/parents may have the right to choose but what should their choice be influenced by, should their choice be as a result of medical reason and is the choice ethical, especially when ending pregnancy. Tension will be around whether the choice is ethical and the definition of life and when life begins. Tensions will be more ethical than medical and will boil down to one’s own belief and personal opinion. The government can establish guidelines and information to that is medically proven but the final choice will have to be an individual.


Simon Tue 19 Nov 2019 4:10AM

Welcome to the group, @Margaret Aulda , and thanks for building on the ethical dilemmas that John and Izzy have been discussing.

It is true, I think, that governments often present guidelines and information that purportedly are based on medical/scientific facts but underneath the 'neutral' language are values calls - whose facts, which interpretation, which criteria, who benefits, who doesn't, etc? While Approach 1 might suggest that individuals should decide such things for pre-birth testing, governments and their experts routinely make values calls in all sorts of areas. This deliberation process is about widening who is involved by giving citizens an opportunity work through the issues.

Keep up the good work, everyone!


Lillian Smith Tue 19 Nov 2019 4:31AM

Ethical issue will be an issue when taking this approach. If a mother is required to take all pregnancy tests whether it be IVF, PGD, embryo selection, abortion or tests during pregnancy, ethical issues needs consideration. In a society where people value their norms and beliefs, the practice of some tests will be against their cultural beliefs even if it is mandatory.  In the context of New Zealand, it's a multicultural society where people from the Asian, Maori, Pakeha and Pacific have different opinions to the pre-birth testing when considering cultural ethics and values.For instance, if I take the IVF while in NZ and go back to my home county, the society will see my child as someone out from the space. But when looking from a different perspective, mothers and citizens will understand why a woman has to undergo tests. It all comes back to individual choices citizens make and how they see the value of each tests.


Jenna Robson Tue 19 Nov 2019 8:11AM

The first challenge that comes to mind for me is taking into account the significantly complexity of all different conditions, genetic and non-genetic, when symptoms appear, and how easily the test are treated, and converting this into ‘principles’ that can adapt to when some of these factors change over time. In addition, this will need to ensure that funding requirements and costs on government and individuals are relatively stable over time.

As technology advances, and more testing becomes possible, we will also need any specific laws and regulations to be responsive to this, so that there are minimal ‘loopholes’ that go beyond what is considered acceptable or place additional cost burden on the tax payer.

Another tension would be around pre-pregnancy testing. I recently read an article where one women was not informed of her father having Huntington’s, and now faces a 50/50 risk of her child, already born, of also having the same genetic condition. Had she known earlier, she claims claims she will have aborted. In this context, the tension is around where testing ends, and who bears the cost.

Another possible tension around implementation relates to who delivers the services and the funding model chosen. Strong government involvement can reduce the risk of non-compliance, but at pehaps reduced cost-efficiency.

Lastly, it is hard to ignore matters of gender selection. The tension will be around how far we go in allowing choice here. From a population growth perspective, there can be some benefits, if, for example, you have one daughter, and now wish for a son (and only want two kids). But this gets complex with combined families, families with twins etc.


Sylviani Leku Mon 18 Nov 2019 10:56PM

I think people may see this approach as unethical procedures, but having this as a first choice before a pregnancy is a good choice for individuals/parents. At least they could prepare better. Many believes that children is a blessing, no matter what condition they may have or whatever may it takes. I believe that values too. However, if I have to bear and raise a children with such conditions I need all knowledge and preparations to make the children could live longer and in good condition.

This approach is a way to develop people awareness to living with children with certain conditions. Therefore, it has to involve people values about live itself. In addition, it is essential that access through this information and tests is adequate, equal and equitable among all individuals. Inequality in accessing this informed choices will lead to another conflict.

In addition, it is important to place the test procedure in right stage due to people values about life. For example, it is before pregnancy, hence the individuals/parents could choose whether they still have desire to have children despite of their bad genetic conditions, or during the pregnancy, which could provoke people opinion about the bad result could lead to abortion. I think people may prefer to have this procedure in the stage of preparation of pregnancy rather than during the pregnancy. Therefore, in my perspective, right timing to place this procedure will influence the success of this approach.

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