The Great Eugenics/Genetic Counselling Debate

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honeywhite
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Report Thread starter 7 years ago
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First, here's the definition of eugenics I'll use: it's selective breeding for humans, to remove undesirable traits. That's all. It's nothing political, it's nothing Nazi, it's nothing against freedom. In fact you yourself can participate in eugenics by having your genes checked and not having children if you might pass on a serious disease.

Here's the question: is it a good idea to subsidise birth control/vasectomies for carriers of genetic defects? Furthermore, if you are pro-CHOICE, is it a good idea to subsidise abortions of infants found to have, beyond a reasonable doubt, a serious genetic defect?

For instance, father and mother are cystic fibrosis carriers. Cystic fibrosis is a lifespan-shortening and painful autosomal recessive disorder, which means that if both are carriers, there's a 25% chance of cystic fibrosis at birth and a 50% chance of a cystic fibrosis carrier.

Similarly, Huntington's chorea is an autosomal *dominant* disorder. Also very disabling, leads to dementia by the age of 40 and death by the age of 50. If any one parent is a Huntington's chorea sufferer, the resultant child will have Huntington's chorea half the time. If both are Huntingtonians, the chance of the child being sick increases to 75%. Is it ethical to offer a subsidised birth control plan or vasectomy to one or both parents?

Another example: mother carries baby, amniocentesis reveals Down's syndrome. Down's is a *chromosomal* disorder, so it's impossible to prevent, but an abortion can be given if Down's is apparent after conception. Should this similarly be subsidised?
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