Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 23, 2006
Genetic Grim Reaper culls the unborn
Procedures allow parents to determine if their unborn child meets their 'specifications'
By LEA SEVCIK
"Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child who carries the heavy burden of genetic disease."
- Dr. Robert Edwards
The apparent point of all this screening is to prevent the birth of children whose lives have been judged to be of low quality, and who would be an unjustified burden on their parents and on society.
Never mind the words of Catherine Frazee, a severely disabled Canadian writer and educator, who has said of the disabled: "Let us affirm that our lives - however much pain, however much struggle - our lives are worth living.
"Taking our lives to spare us our pain and our struggle is a crime."
Never mind also the fact that genetic screening will transform the way parents view their children. Unconditional love will give way to viewing children as another personalized product made to fulfill parental desires.
Parents may even be called irresponsible unless they have children that fit societal norms of health, appearance and ability.
Even Dr. Robert Edwards, who helped create the first test-tube baby, has said, "Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child who carries the heavy burden of genetic disease.
"We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children."
Finally, never mind that only the wealthy will be able to afford the genetic customization of their children, which totals thousands of dollars. It is the poor who will bear the burden of raising disabled and otherwise "unwanted" children.
Without a ban on the use of genetic screening, the futuristic movie Gattaca is a fitting warning of what we may be in for. It shows a world where naturally conceived children are called "degenerates" and are resigned to the lowest jobs in society.
Meanwhile, those who have been genetically screened for the most desirable characteristics run the world.
It may come as no surprise that Germany - well experienced with eugenics - has entirely prohibited genetic screening. So has Italy.
Let Canada be the third country to stand up for the worth and dignity of every human life.
(Lea Sevcik is assistant director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family.)
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