Published: 02.08.2019

Call for Papers: Disability and Ethics

The widely ratified United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities lists the rights of disabled individuals and prohibits any discrimination on the basis of disability. It demands state parties, amongst other things, to grant disabled individuals their full inclusion and participation in society (including in social, educational, political and public life as well as in medical decision-making), and to respect the right of disabled individuals to found a family. While these rights are commonly accepted, their application and implementation remain a highly contested issue. It is for example unclear what measures have to be taken to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in education and the world of work whilst providing social protection to those who cannot work due to their impairments. Government agencies have to weigh how to best allocate their limited resources in a fair and cost-effective way, which may sometimes be in tension with the right of disabled individuals to inclusion and participation. And in medicine and political theory, it is an open question how medical and political decision-making can be made more accessible for persons with intellectual disabilities, for those who are profoundly impaired or who are living with multiple disabilities.

Moreover, many cognitively disabled individuals still encounter barriers when it comes to procreation and parenting: they often have to fight for their right to have children, and there is an ongoing debate about whether disabled adults have a right to undergo medical procedures that allow them to have children who share their impairment (e.g. a deaf couple who wishes that their future child should also be deaf). This question goes to the heart of the debate about the nature of disability: is disability something bad that should be fixed and prevented (e.g. through pre-implantation tests and pre-natal screenings), or are disabilities mere differences to which society should adapt?

Finally, an important topic in the fields of disability studies and psychology concerns the question of how to best reduce ableist prejudices in society in general as well as in particular fields, such as for example amongst healthcare practitioners.

The aim of this special issue of Bioethica Forum ( dedicated to ethics and disability is to bring together contributions of scholars in various fields (such as medicine, philosophy, social sciences, disability studies, etc.) which address (bio)ethical issues related to disability. Contributions could cover, but are not restricted to, the topics outlined above, and can be submitted in English, French or German.

Authors can submit an original article, a case commentary or a personal viewpoint. For details, see

Bioethica Forum is the official journal of the Swiss Society for Biomedical Ethics. It publishes interdisciplinary scientific articles on bioethics topics four times per year. Articles and case commentaries are peer reviewed.

Please submit original articles and case commentaries by October 1st, 2019, and viewpoints by January 1st, 2020 to: and