Abortion and the Genetic Counselor: The Impact of Restrictive Legislation on Genetic Counseling Practice
The first class of genetic counselors graduated with an M.A. from the Sarah Lawrence College in 1971; less than two years later, the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in all fifty states. In the U.S., the field of reproductive genetic counseling came of age against a backdrop of legal abortion, and the option of terminating a pregnancy after a prenatal diagnosis has always been an integral part of the standard of care. In 1992, the Supreme Court decision in Casey v. Planned Parenthood allowed states to pass laws that made obtaining an abortion more difficult, so long as it did not create what the Court described as an “undue burden” on the pregnant individual. Research has shown that, in aggregate, these laws disproportionately affect vulnerable populations: younger people, poorer people, individuals with disabilities, and people at risk of domestic violence. The erosion of access to abortion care that began with a steady trickle of laws in abortion-unfriendly states has become a flood. An average of 59 abortion restrictions were enacted every year from 2011 to 2021. In 2021, that number peaked at 108--a record that will no doubt be eclipsed in 2022 if,…
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About ELSIhub Collections
ELSIhub Collections are essential reading lists on fundamental or emerging topics in ELSI, curated and explained by expert Collection Editors, often paired with ELSI trainees. This series assembles materials from cross-disciplinary literatures to enable quick access to key information.