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HIV Testing of Pregnant Women and Newborns

Ronald Bayer, PhD
JAMA. 1991;265(12):1525-1526. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460120039017.
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To the Editor. —  The Working Group on HIV Testing of Pregnant Women and Newborns1 provides a thoughtful analysis of the ethical and policy issues posed by the challenge of HIV infection in pregnant women and newborns. In the course of that analysis, the authors make reference to my work in a way that does considerable violence to what I have written.In my own article,2I argued that the human misery represented by HIV infection in newborns provided a strong moral argument for discouraging pregnancy in infected women. I was, however, careful to insist that counseling against pregnancy was not the moral equivalent of prohibiting pregnancy: "There are many occasions when coercion for pragmatic, constitutional and ethical reasons is unacceptable as a means of gaining adherence to morally desirable standards, and decisions regarding procreation present such an occasion."Furthermore, I made a radical distinction between counseling about


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