Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Eugenics is Eugenics in Whatever Direction it is Aimed


We've heard stories like this before: In the UK, deaf parents want the right to ensure having deaf children through embryo selection. From the story:

DEAF parents should be allowed to screen their embryos so they can pick a deaf child over one that has all its senses intact, according to the chief executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (RNID). Jackie Ballard, a former Liberal Democrat MP, says that although the vast majority of deaf parents would want a child who has normal hearing, a small minority of couples would prefer to create a child who is effectively disabled, to fit in better with the family lifestyle.

Ballard's stance is likely to be welcomed by other deaf organisations, including the British Deaf Association (BDA), which is campaigning to amend government legislation to allow the creation of babies with disabilities.

Some might say that the wrong here is producing children intentionally to have a disability. But the real wrong here is that children are becoming mere products ordered out of a catalogue--only worth bringing to birth if they suit parental desires and satisfy parental 'lifestyles." It marks the end of loving our children unconditionally.

Defenders of the proposal seem to be playing tit-for-tat:
A clause in the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, which is passing through the House of Lords, would make it illegal for parents undergoing embryo screening to choose an embryo with an abnormality if healthy embryos exist. In America a deaf couple deliberately created a baby with hearing difficulties by choosing a sperm donor with generations of deafness in his family. This would be impossible under the bill in its present form in the UK. Disability charities say this makes the proposed legislation discriminatory, because it gives parents the right to create "designer babies" free from genetic conditions while banning couples from deliberately creating a baby with a disability.
Two wrongs do not make a right. Designing children to be deaf is just as morally wrong as selecting embryos out because they will be hearing impaired. The proper course is to block the eugenic provision now in the bill, not add more such pernicious ingredients into an already noxious stew.


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