Skip to main content
Disability-Selective Abortion and the Americans with Disabilities Act
2009 Utah Law Review 845-905
  • Dov Fox
  • Christopher L. Griffin, Jr., William & Mary Law School
This Article examines the influence of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on affective attitudes toward children with disabilities and on the incidence of disability-selective abortion. Applying regression analysis to U.S. natality data, we find that the birthrate of children with Down syndrome declined significantly in the years following the ADA’s passage. Controlling for technological, demographic, and cultural variables suggests that the ADA may have encouraged prospective parents to prevent the existence of the very class of people it was designed to protect. We explain this paradox by showing the way in which specific ADA provisions could have given rise to demeaning media depictions and social conditions that reinforced negative understandings and expectations among prospective parents about what it means to have a child with a disability. We discuss implications for antidiscrimination law and prenatal testing policy.
Document Type
Publication Date
Citation Information
Dov Fox and Christopher L. Griffin. "Disability-Selective Abortion and the Americans with Disabilities Act" 2009 Utah Law Review 845-905 (2009)
Available at: