Over the next couple weeks I’m going to be writing a series of posts reflecting on Ellen Painter Dollar’s first book, No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced REproduction (John Knox Press: 2012).

This is a book ten years in the making. It follows Ellen’s story of having osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or what most of us know as brittle-bone disease, and the reproductive decisions made by her family in light of this genetic abnormality. It’s a fascinating story that also provides up-to-date information about reproductive technologies and that possibilities and pitfalls of these new options. Ellen reflects thoughtfully on what these technologies mean for Christians.

I especially appreciate Ellen’s tone throughout the book. She isn’t preachy yet she is far from all-embracing. She manages to maintain certain convictions while allowing others to be uprooted and overturned. And she does so not in a medical ethics vacuum, but while living with the complications of excruciating physical pain, and knowing that this pain could very well be passed on to her children. It is a brave book.

I’ll be looking at several topics over the next few weeks including the possibilities and limitations of narrative ethics, why we have biological children, and the poverty of our current debate over the personhood of embryos. Rather than reviewing this book as an impersonal bystander, I will attempt to stay true to Ellen’s vision for the book by engaging from my own experience and offering my own feedback and critiques.

I encourage you to read along and join the discussion. You can keep track of Ellen’s work and happenings at her Patheos blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ellenpainterdollar/.


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