An apparent consensus governs the management of carrier status information generated incidentally through newborn screening: results cannot be withheld from parents. This normative stance encodes the focus on autonomy and distaste for paternalism that characterize the principles of clinical bioethics. However, newborn screening is a classic public health intervention in which paternalism may trump autonomy and through which parents are - in effect - required to receive carrier information. In truth, the disposition of carrier results generates competing moral infringements: to withhold information or require its possession. Resolving this dilemma demands consideration of a distinctive body of public health ethics to highlight the moral imperatives associated with the exercise of collective authority in the pursuit of public health benefits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health