Better Parenting through Biomedical Modification: A Case for Pluralism, Deference, and Charity


In this paper, I will argue that the moral assessment of the prenatal selection and postnatal modification biotechnologies requires a nuanced approach, which pays close attention to the variety of sometimes conflicting parental roles and reasons involved in decisions for and against their use. I will focus on several related but distinct reasons that parents have, or give, for modifying existing children or selecting future children. Many of these reasons are expressed in terms of more effective parenting. Because there is a plurality of legitimate parental goals, I will conclude that assessing parental interventions requires us to adjudicate conflicts or tradeoffs among those goals.