Discourses on Prenatal Diagnosis



Prenatal Diagnosis

* Discourses on Prenatal Diagnosis 1 : by Doctors etc.
* Discourses on Prenatal Diagnosis 2 : by Disabled People
* Discourses on Prenatal Diagnosis 3 : by Women
* Discourses on Prenatal Diagnosis 4
* Debate and Criticism on Prenatal Diagnosis etc.

1/4 (tr. by Tsuyako Miyasato)

Tagima, Yatoro & Matsunaga, Ei 1976
Iizuka, Rihachi & Kawakami[1984:44-45]
Ishikawa, Norihiko[1988:121-126]
Matsuda, Michio[1985:200]
Ozawa, Makiko[1987:349-351]
Mukai, Shoko[1990:135-137]

Matsuda, Michio[1985:200]

"A couple has a child with a congenital disorder. They are having a hard time raising that child. If they end up with having another child just like the one they have now, they won't be able to survive. As a couple, they do have the right to choose the next child's health condition in terms of whether the child will be born as a normal human being. In that case, we can't say the amniocentesis is bad, or that couple is prejudiced towards the disabled. Our medical world tells us that the amniocentesis can be implemented safely. An artificial abortion is accepted based on proper reason and financial status. Having a child after the amniocentesis eliminates the danger of having an abnormal child and is exactly in their rights as a basic human rights." (Matsuda in Matsuda & Bai 1985:200; Quote in Oya 1985:25-26)


2/4 (tr. by Tsuyako Miyasato)

Yokota, Hiroshi[1983:25]
Araki, Yoshiaki[1983:25]
Yokotsuka, Koichi[1975(1984):108,110]
Yokota, Hiroshi[1979:83]
Yokotsuka, Koichi[197407]>[1975(1984):119]
Yokota, Hiroshi[1979:102-103]
Yokota, Hiroshi[1979:66]
Yokota, Hiroshi[1979:71]
Yagi, Mine[1986:231]
Miya, Akio[1996:2-3]

Araki, Yoshiaki[1983:25]

"I feel regret that most people who oppose to making a change for the better are missing the most critical points. That is, the people who are opposed to the topic based on the idea of `child bearing is a woman's freedom' are thinking without the `disabled.' Certainly, with the process of impregnation and bearing a child, there are physical and emotional sufferings that cannot be understood by men. The arguments are in what women say in the mal-centered society. However, for all that, I can't totally support that idea. What we should not forget about here is, `people with disabilities.' If one questions the meaning of the Eugenic Protection Law, one can't say merely, `child bearing is a woman's freedom.' One of the purposes of the Eugenic Protection Law is based on the eugenics concept to wipe out the people with `disability.' For the society, a useless human should not be born. The useless human means those who have `disability' do not make economic contribution to society." (Araki 1983:39)

Yokotsuka, Koichi[197407]>[1975(1984):119]

"The minutes a fetus has been diagnosed as `disabled,' `legally,' an amendment of the Eugenic Protection Act permits a doctor to go into the mother's womb and abort the unborn child, as if peace reigns over the land. What does this law mean to the defective descendents (the disabled) living among as and to whom are they defective? What this means for the`production comes first society'is that those who have been poor producers of the disabled are burdensome to society, and the disabled shouldn't be there in the first place. This law, in itself, defines a society willing to use eugenics to abort the inferior genes. In a word, those whom have no productivity are branded as `bad.' Actually, continued abortion of the disabled will not eliminate disabled from being born into society. This process will continue until the end of the world, or until the last person is left in the world. But after I have been aborted as `defective person' from this world. I couldn't care less what a `wonderful society' came after." (Yokotsuka 1975,1985:108,110) *
* Yokotsuka"Eugenic Protection Act and I", Aoi-Shiba no.16 (Sept. 1972) Yokotsuka 1975,1985:108,110

Miya, Akio[1996:2-3]

"Would I be discriminating against the disabled by wishing my child to be born with a whole limb and be healthy?"
"But, don't you think it is a merely human to fell this way?"
"It may be so, but there is no proof that this human feeling is the right or discriminatory. For example, one might wish to eat better than others. Or, the same thing can be said about some people trying to push others down in order to be Number 1..."
"Isn't that a little different what I am talking about? I knew that I was going to take care of my child, and I would live throughout my life with him, so it doesn't matter what physical conditions he had when he was born. Even then, when he was ready to be born, I had hoped, for his sake, that he would be health. This was my honest feeling. Do I push others down, because I have hoped for my child to be healthy?"
"Don't you think that disabled are not very happy about hearing things like wishing for a healthy child to be born? They might feel the denials, or at least, feel that they are not accepted by society."
"I'm disabled. But I don't feel that way..." (Miya 1996:2-3)


3/4(tr. by Tsuyako Miyasato)

Hiratsuka, Raicho
Tanaka, Mitsu 1973
Ozawa, Makiko[1987:338]
Ehara, Yumiko[1984]
Kanai, Yoshiko[1985:113-115]
Kanai, Yoshiko[1989:59-63]
Komano, Yoko[1989:125-126]
Kanazumi, Noriko[1989:203-205]
Yonezu, Tomoko 1973
Nishiyama, Noriko[1983:28-29]
Kono, Satoko & Seikai, Keiko[1988:66-69]

Tanaka, Mitsu 1973

"A woman has a right to abort. This right is no less than the right to bear and raise a child. That is to say, unwed or wed, fight for the autonomous change in child -bearing to establish the social conditions that woman may bear and raise a child. The corollary is the right to abort can be actualized. It may be abstract, but what I can say at this moment is, acquiring the right to bear and raise the child should be based on the sociological conditions. It does not matter if a fetus is known to be disabled. What I would like to say here is to establish the foundation of the sociological conditions. In a word, acquiring the woman's right to childbearing does not oppose the idea of freedom of the disabled children. We request the right to bear and raise a child (a fetus' right). Don't give up because of how society is, or do not justify yourself because of that. Instead, start making the social conditions, so that women can have freedom to bear a child--we need friends--Let's shape a life of the group to fight for the women's right. That's right! Without trials, you can't talk about the rights or abortions." iTanaka, Mitsu. Oh, boy, I'm getting tired,...But I can't afford to lose the fight even if I suffer from the summer heat. Remember, we have to fight for heading off the `Eugenic Protection Law'. Live News This Way Only 2(1973.7.10):8-9.12-13j


4/4(tr. by Tsuyako Miyasato)

Saishu, Satoru 1980
Yamazaki, Kaoru[1996:46-47](Japanese only)
Amagasa, Keisuke[1996:57](Japanese only)
Fukumoto, Eiko[1996:60](Japanese only)
Fujiki, Norio[1996:73](Japanese only)
Shirai ; Maruyama ; Tsuchiya ; Osawa[1994:201-202]
Nagata, Eriko[1995a:140-141]
Ishii, Michiko[1994:192-193](Japanese only)

Saishu, Satoru 1980

"I answer in the affirmation that wishing to bear a child healthy in both mind and body is a natural way of thinking in human nature. But is there any room left in us to recognize that those who oppose this natural way of thinking postulate awkwardness as part of humanistic nature as well?" (Saishu 1980,1984:80)

Shirai ; Maruyama ; Tsuchiya ; Osawa[1994:201-202]

" 1. `Muscular dystrophy brings physical pain and difficult life and insecurity in the future. By the same taken, the `disabled' that have no remedy today should be gaining a brighter promise in the future... But at this time, muscular dystrophy is an incurable disease. ' 2. `The medicine that can't cure the muscular dystrophy patient is trying to eliminate that disease. Instead of searching the `attributed' causes of the disease, medicine today is taking a preventive approach by erasing muscular dystrophy patients much like plucking them up by the root. Good examples are prenatal diagnosis, embryo diagnosis, predetermination of the child's sex, and eugenics surgery.'3. The method of genetic diagnosis is used to discriminate against people with muscular dystrophy and destroy them. From a viewpoint of protecting a person with muscular dystrophy, this genetic diagnosis does not contribute to the reproduction of muscular dystrophy, and the medicine is not ethical.' 4. `This type of practice of genetic diagnosis may be unethical, but on the other hand, we can't prohibit the practice in society.'" (Shirai, Maruyama, Tsuchiya, & Osawa 1994:201-202)

There may be no proving of transformation from 3 to 4. What we need to point out here is to see if opinion 3 is applicable. (Tateiwa 1997:437)

Nagata, Eriko[1995a:140-141]

"In the first place, it would be such a horrible thing not to let an individual choose one's quality of life. If you criticize this point for the sake of eugenics, then, there should also be prohibition on all of us from falling in love with one another. You see, we ask about job based on one's qualifications, we choose a friend based on his/her personality, and then, regarding the spouse, we try to choose the person who has distinct characteristics highly esteemed by the society... And them, by falling in love with a person, we are actually choosing the quality of our future children. For example, a person chooses to marry a smart person because he/she wishes to have a smatter child. Believe it or not, we are affected by our society. We can't even ignore the fact that we have been influenced by society on whom we should be attractive to. This is one of the reasons why a person with non-discriminatory nature has difficulty in getting married. Because of that, is it the right thing to prohibit the activities of falling in love in our lives? Since falling in love with one person is based on such discriminatory action and prejudice, should we stop people from falling in love with one another? Is it possible to casually choose a spouse and crossbreed? Who knows, there may be a society far away in the future where this might be a reality. But at this point, it is impossible. Freedom is a very important human make-up for us. Especially, as long as love and reproduction are to be kept in the individual's private realm, we won't be able to avoid `choosing our life quality' through falling in love and reproduction." (Nagata 1995a:140-141)


* Debate and Criticism on Prenatal Diagnosis etc.

žTateiwa, Shinya 1997 On Private Property(Shiteki-Shoyu Ron), Tokyo, Keiso-Shobo
Chapter 9 "Dealing with correct forms of eugenics" (translation by Robert Chapeskie)

@chapter 9, note 2
@In addition to criticism of policy there has also been criticism of statements made regarding this issue. In an article published in a Japanese weekly magazine called Shukanbunshun in 1980 (Watanabe [1980]), Shoichi Watanabe pointed to the high cost of medical treatment given to a hemophiliac patient named Akahito Onishi and asserted that it was the "sacred duty" of individuals to avoid having children if there is a high chance their offspring would suffer from hemophilia. Watanabe's position was criticized in several articles including Kyoujin Onishi [1980] and Yokota [1980], cf. Akihito Onishi [1980]. The assertions of Kyoujin Onishi, Akihito Onishi, Akiyuki Nosaka are discussed and examined in Azechi [1981] and Shinohara [1987b:230-234] (cf. [1987a:30ff]. This debate is also referred to in Kida [1982:195], Oya [1985:24-25], Yagi [1986:144-145], and Kazuo Sato [1998:51-52]. "In 1980 Shoichi Watanabe stated that those who know they have inferior genes have a social obligation to refrain from having children, and with this unmistakably pro-eugenics stance violated the greatest taboo of post-war Japan. Of course this immediately led to a debate of these issues, but Watanabe was able to keep his position as a professor at a university and suffered almost no social sanction" (Yonemoto [1987c:111]). Yonemoto sees this as a sign of the breaking down of the post-war mentality (see chapter six note forty three). But is it really? Even after the war there continued to be earnest and straightforward affirmations of eugenics, and it may be that it these first began to be taken issue with around this time. The Japanese translator of "By Trust Betrayed: Patients, Physicians, and the Right to Kill in the Third Reich"(Gallagher [1995], Japanese trans. 1996jwrites in an afterward to the text "I became concerned about the subjects addressed in this text after reading Sophia University Professor Shoichi Watanabe's article entitled "Seinaru gimu" (A Sacred Duty)" " (Nagase [1996:413]). @ In the previous year a narrative comic had been published about a doctor who kills a newborn with cerebral palsy on behalf of its parents ("Yakochu" episode one hundred "Koshinonijou (abnormal infant heart sounds)", written and illustrated by Hiroshi Kakinuma and Toru Shinohara and published in the September fifth 1979 issue of "Big Comic Original"). Protests against this comic were held by various organizations including "Zenkoku shogaisha kaiho undo renrakukaigi" ("National Disabled People's Liberation Movement Liason Conference" - abbreviated as "Zenshoren" in Japanese )and the Osaka "Aoishibanokai" (see "Zenshoren" 9:14-17 (1979), "Soyokaze no youni machi wo deyou" 1 (1979), Yagishita [1980:9-16] and Yagi [1986:138-142]). "The editors and creators of the comic at Shogakukan/"Big Comic" understood our (contributors to "Zenshoren" and those we cite) position, completely agreed with the criticism of their own actions, withdrew the issue in question and published a letter of apology in national newspapers. This response on the part of the publisher can be highly commended, but the "Yakochu" series was halted after episode one hundred and three because of its creator's illness./We oppose the termination of this series. What made this comic problematic was not that it addressed the subject of disabled infants; what we take issue with is the killing of these infants. Our being put in the position of "freaks" or "abnormal people" is not something I think can be avoided. We live in this position, within this kind of relationship with society. It is wrong to end this comic series because disabled people are "dirty""(Yagi [1980:15]).
@After this incident there were also protests by "Zenkoku shogaisha kaiho undo renrakukaigi" (Zenshoren), "Shogaisha no seikatsuhosho wo yokyusuru renrakukaigi" ("Liaison Conference for Demanding the Protection of the Lives of People with Disabilities" - abbreviated as "shogairen" in Japanese), "Shikakushogaisha rodomondai kyogikai" ("Japanese Council on Labor Issues affecting People with Visual Impairment - abbreviated as "Shirokyo" in Japanese"), and "82 Yuseihogo kaiakusoshi renrakukai" ("Liaison Conference for the prevention of Undesirable Amendments to the Eugenic Protection Law [19]82" -abbreviated as "Soshiren" in Japanese) regarding an article entitled "Kekkonsurumae no komonsensuEyoichi wo nokositai (Common sense before marriage - A desire to pass on good blood)" published in the January 1984 issue of "Vansankan(25 ans)" magazine (see Zen-Sho-Ren [1984, 35:2-8,36:3-4,37-38:6-10,40:11-14,42:11-13], Yagi [1986:146-153]). This article included a diagram illustrating the results of Goddard's research regarding the "Kallikak" family (Goddard [1912] - see chapter six note 34) - "research" which examined the case of a particular man who had children with two women, one a devote quaker of good reputation and the other "feeble-minded", and found that descendants of the former became upstanding citizens while the descendants of the latter were themselves feebleminded, alcoholics or criminals, with the "determination" of which individuals were feeble-minded having been made by researchers employed by Goddard and the photographs used to depict this feeble-mindedness having been intentionally altered (See Gould [1981] and Yamashita [1990:26-27]).

REV:Nov.16, 2009@April 6, 2015
Japanese Version