Commentary on Pollard

- Masahiro Morioka

International Research Center for Japanese Studies
3-2 Oeyama-cho, Goryo, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 610-11, JAPAN


Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 6 (1996), 6.
Pollard's paper is full of persuasive data about "fetus abuse" by the parents who enjoy cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine. She writes that "there is an urgent need for open debate about the morality of drug abuse when a child's genetic potential is the issue." I agree with her on this point, but I wonder if we have to take more various factors into consideration such as the mental stress of a pregnant woman, air pollution by exhaust gas in the region she lives, and bad working conditions before the VDT.

She writes that "debate about the human person and good society must also clearly state its strong opposition to the needless handicap of the fetus." I understand what she really wants to say, but the words "needless handicap" put me into a little bit uneasy feeling. Is there "needless handicap" and "needed handicap" in our society? Is it a sound way of thinking to consider "handicap" in terms of "necessity"? In Japan, the expressions "the disabled is unhappy" and "the disabled is needless" have been severely criticized over the past 20 years, hence the expression "needless handicap" sounds strange to my ears.

In addition, I would like to ask her about abortion. She doesn't talk about abortion at all in this paper. If we discuss the morality of fetus abuse by the parents, we cannot let abortion go because abortion may be the heaviest abuse against the developing fetus. We cannot separate the morality of drug abuse and that of abortion. Of course everyone knows the abortion issue is extremely complicated that it is impossible to reach general agreement. Hence it may be wiser to avoid this issue when discussing the drug use of the parents. I don't have a conclusion. I would like to know the readers' responses on this matter.


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