Knowledge Database

Alistair de Gaetano: The Autism Genome Project and Genocide: The Unbearable Uncertainty of Being (Autistic)


The presentation will examine how the search for the autism gene can give rise to a number of rights-related issues, not least to violations spanning the hierarchy of crimes related to genocide, as a consequence of applying eugenics. Statistics in various countries have shown that disability as an explicit ground allowing for the termination of pregnancy has resulted in the over-use of such a facility, where the foetus was detected to have or possibly have or develop a disability, most notably in the case of Down’s Syndrome. The recent discovery of a ‘genetic signature’ linked to autism in humans, and Western Australia’s approval of embryo screening to ‘reduce the chance of a high-risk family having a child with autism’, with British authorities also weighing up this option, strengthens this fear among autistic activists. Although the crime of genocide is only restricted to a select number of groups in light of the UN Genocide Convention, national statutes and legal philosophers and scholars such as Pieter Drost have envisaged a much wider scope for the term as a legal concept, and the advent of the autistic rights movement has given this concept yet another facet. The presentation will examine the legal basis for research within the Autism Genome Project, as well as that covering prenatal genetic diagnosis (PGD) and embryo screening, and termination of pregnancies in the case of the foetus having a disability. These laws will then be analysed critically from a rights perspective, with major concerns being identified and discussed.





Video LecturesKrisztina Horvat: The Importance of Self Advocacy of People with Autism in the Context of Progressive Reforms: A Good Practice from Hungary
  • Disabilities:


  • Topics:

    Changing Attitudes

  • Keywords:


  • Audience:

    General public, Professionals

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