The Corner

GenRich, GenPoor

Pro-lifers have to set their sights awfully high. Until abortion is banned everywhere in the world, any mere local or national ban just privileges women with the knowledge, will and means to travel.

Thoughtful pro-lifers readily admit this if asked. They raise the slavery analogy, and conversation peters out shortly afterwards. (I mean, you either find the analogy convincing, or you don’t, and this is not a point where mind-changing evidence is easily produced.)

Some similar argument applies to all reproductive technologies, including the ones we can at present only imagine. The Gene Expression website has been running an ongoing discussion of this topic for at least five years. Here’s the latest post, showing how the pro-choicers are tying themselves in knots over some of the soon-to-be-real consequences of reproductive freedom. As usual with Gene Expression, the links are all worth following.

If the [pro-choice] authors worried about a class divide developing between the “GenRich” and the rest of the population then the surest way to bring this about is to create a regulatory framework where only those with means can access the service by traveling overseas in order to have their embryos transfered. Does the author imagine that US Customs will maintain a pregnancy screening service for Americans arriving back in the country, or that abortions will be forced on people who have been found to have used reproductive technologies, or that the children, once born, will be born with a Scarlet Letter emblazoned on their foreheads announcing to the world that they are “GenRich”?

Note that if a gap opens up between the GenRich and the GenPoor, that would not be merely a social divide. Aristocrats and peasants, bourgeoisie and proletariat, snobs and slobs, have always been genetically indistinguishable. Here we’re talking biological divergence—Eloi and Morlocks.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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