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April 12, 1995

Genetic Testing for Children and Adolescents-Reply

Author Affiliations

Shriver Center for Mental Retardation Waltham, Mass
California Pacific Medical Center San Francisco

JAMA. 1995;273(14):1090. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520380025021

In Reply.  —Judging by the number of letters received in response to our article, we have clearly approached our main goal, enlargement of discourse on this topic.In response to Dr Burke, we weighed the issue of protecting innocent bystanders in developing our criteria for testing. According to Burke's own data, the majority of adolescents do not have unwanted pregnancies. A substantial portion of adolescents are capable of understanding the implications of genetic data and of using contraception successfully. Even if such adolescents were in the minority, as Burke believes, this would not change the moral obligation to protect the autonomy of adolescents.We are aware of no legal basis on which the parents of a pregnant minor could sue the biological father of a fetus or child for wrongful conception or wrongful birth. Clearly, the biological father, regardless of age, has a legal duty to support the liveborn child.

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