Definition of the problem: From an ethical point of view we analyse the ruling of the German Federal Joint Committee (Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss, G‑BA) of September 2019 to revise the guidelines about the coverage of noninvasive prenatal tests (NIPT) by mandatory health insurance, in order to include them under specified conditions. Arguments: The decision contains four essential elements: a definition of the aim of NIPT testing (to avoid invasive testing), a criterion of access (test must be “necessary” for the pregnant woman to tackle her individual situation), statements about the process of decision-making (after counselling by a physician and case by case) and a normative contextualization (termination of pregnancy under § 218 a German penal law) which is to be found in its explanations. Conclusion: There are tensions in the proposed model that oscillate about two axes: (1) The suffering that results from a possible birth of a child with trisomy or from not knowing about the genetic condition of the fetus can ultimately only be evaluated subjectively, from the perspective of the pregnant woman. (2) The meaning of an individual decision in the case-by-case model remains unclear because when judging about individual cases general points of view also need to be considered. However, we argue that the model of the G‑BA could be a sociopolitically and ultimately also ethically defensible pragmatic solution, exactly because of its paradoxes and its inherent flexibility.
|Translated title of the contribution||The decision of the German Federal Joint Committee to cover NIPT in mandatory health insurance. An ethical analysis|
|Journal||Ethik in der Medizin|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Center for Cultural Studies (ZKFL)