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Adrienne Asch to address implications of prenatal testing, disability equity Feb. 26

February 17, 2009

Michele Barrett
(315) 443-6172

Michele Barrett

Speaking on the featured topic "Disability Equity and Prenatal Testing: Contradictory or Compatible?" Adrienne Asch, director of the Center for Ethics at Yeshiva University, will offer perspectives on the implications of genetic diagnoses and the status of people with disabilities. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m., in Room 300 of McNaughton Hall at the Syracuse University College of Law. Parking for a fee is available in the Irving Garage.

Asch"Dr. Asch is a prolific and distinguished scholar whose thoughtful work incorporates disability rights, bioethics and pro-choice feminist perspectives-three areas that to some people might appear incompatible," says Nancy Mudrick, professor in SU's School of Social Work. "In her talks and her writings, she challenges the broad societal assumptions about which lives are full lives, and pushes us to re-examine perspectives that we may have accepted without question."

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 has been strengthened with recent amendments, giving persons with disabilities more civil rights protections. However, with the proliferation of techniques for screening embryos and fetuses for disabling traits, coupled with urging for these screenings by some in the medical community and society at large, increasing numbers of prospective parents routinely select against embryos and fetuses expected to become children with disabilities. Asch will cover how disability screening in embryos and fetuses impacts societal notions of who is an acceptable child, family member or community member from disability rights and pro-choice perspectives.

At Yeshiva University, Asch is the Edward and Robin Milstein Professor of Bioethics and professor in the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and professor of epidemiology and population health and family and social medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and is the co-editor of "Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights" (Georgetown University Press, 2000) and "The Double-Edged Helix: Social Implications of Genetics in a Diverse Society" (John Hopkins University Press, 2002). She holds board positions at the Society of Jewish Ethics and the American Civil Liberties Union, is a fellow at the Hastings Center and is a member of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law.

Along with the College of Human Ecology and its School of Social Work, co-sponsors of this lecture include SU's Center on Human Policy and the law and disability studies program, cultural foundations of education program, College of Law Disability Law and Policy Program and the School of Education. Additionally, this lecture is supported by the Consortium for Culture and Medicine, a cooperative program of SUNY Upstate Medical University, SU and Le Moyne College.

For more information about this event, contact the School of Social Work at 443-5550.

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