Document Detail

The right to remain in ignorance about genetic information--can such a right be defended in the name of autonomy?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16132072     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Within the field of medicine, it has become widely accepted that respecting the autonomy of individuals justifies their right to know. More recently, commentators have asked whether such respect also justifies an individual's right not to know; that is, their right to remain in ignorance. In this paper, I examine what the concept of autonomy entails and whether one is justified in exercising a right not to know genetic information about oneself in the name of autonomy. An important distinction is drawn between autonomous choices generally and autonomous choices about how we shall conduct our lives. Against this theoretical discussion, I consider two hypothetical cases. I conclude by claiming that ignorance cannot be justified in the name of autonomy, and furthermore that where genetic information is pertinent to one's future autonomy, one cannot exercise a right not to know.
Phillipa Malpas
Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article     Date:  2005-08-12
Journal Detail:
Title:  The New Zealand medical journal     Volume:  118     ISSN:  1175-8716     ISO Abbreviation:  N. Z. Med. J.     Publication Date:  2005 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-08-31     Completed Date:  2005-11-30     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0401067     Medline TA:  N Z Med J     Country:  New Zealand    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  U1611     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Philosophy, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
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MeSH Terms
Attitude to Health
Breast Neoplasms / genetics
Confidentiality / ethics
Decision Making
Disclosure / ethics*
Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
Genetic Techniques
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Heterozygote Detection
Huntington Disease / genetics
Moral Obligations
Patient Rights / ethics*
Personal Autonomy*
Physician-Patient Relations

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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