The Corner

New Fetal Genome Scan Will Test Morality of Society

The news that scientists can test a fetus’s genome through non-invasive means presents a crucial challenge to the moral integrity of society. Will these tests be used by parents and doctors to help prepare the family for a potentially special-needs child? Or instead, will this science accelerate the ongoing search and destroy mission to eugenically cleanse our progeny? In other words, will the fictional world of Gattaca now become fact?

Alas, based on current trends, it would seem so. We increasingly feel entitled not only to have a baby, but to have a baby of the kind and nature we want. Already, 90 percent of babies whose prenatal tests show that they will be born with genetic conditions such as dwarfism and Down syndrome, are prevented from being born. Pressure on expecting parents to abort the “defectives” was so clearly demonstrated that the late Senator Ted Kennedy and former Senator (now Kansas Governor) Sam Brownback co-sponsored the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Condition Awareness Act, requiring that genetic counselors be neutral with regard to the options of birth or abortion. IVF embryos are already being genetically screened before implantation, with unwanted nascent lives thrown out as medical waste — including those with a detected propensity to adult onset diseases. There is even advocacy published in prominent bioethics journals arguing on behalf of “post-birth abortion,” that is, permitted infanticide if the baby that is born does not suit the needs and desires of the parents. And let us not forget that sex-selective IVF and abortion already happen — the latter of which the president of the United States wishes to remain legal.

This particular well could have no bottom. Imagine if scientists discover a genetic component to homosexuality. At least some of our gay brothers and sisters would not be allowed to live. Not only that, but the screening could easily include testing for what are essentially cosmetic issues. Already we have seen IVF advertised as a means of determining hair and eye color.

Many neo-eugenicists assure us that these decisions will all be laissez faire, that is, based solely on “choice.” But that is a fantasy. There are already calls among the Medical intelligentsia to offer prenatal genetic testing to all expecting mothers, not just those who are “at risk,” with the clear intention that the eugenic abortion rate increase. One could easily envisage laws that restrict coverage for children with serious prenatal detectable health conditions. And the raw power of peer pressure could make it very difficult to permit genetically determined babies from being born with serious illnesses or disabilities.

The march of science cannot be stopped, we are told. But this is about ethics, not science. What we do with our technological prowess is what matters. The answer to the evil potentials of the coming genomic screening is to strengthen our commitment to human life and deepen our capacity to love. 

Most Popular

Why Trump’s Losing

President Trump pulled an inside straight to win in 2016, and now he needs another one. The good news for Trump is that his approval rating has stopped falling recently. The bad news is that it has stabilized in the low 40s. Election-watcher Harry Enten points out that no president since Harry Truman has won ... Read More

Why Trump’s Losing

President Trump pulled an inside straight to win in 2016, and now he needs another one. The good news for Trump is that his approval rating has stopped falling recently. The bad news is that it has stabilized in the low 40s. Election-watcher Harry Enten points out that no president since Harry Truman has won ... Read More
U.S.

A Stay-at-Home Mom on Her Reasons for Leaving Portland

While covering events (see here and here) in Portland, Ore., National Review writer Luther Abel sat down with Joanna -- a college-educated, stay-at-home mom and now Trump voter -- who feels it is no longer safe or healthy to live there. They discussed the change that has happened in the city politically, the ... Read More
U.S.

A Stay-at-Home Mom on Her Reasons for Leaving Portland

While covering events (see here and here) in Portland, Ore., National Review writer Luther Abel sat down with Joanna -- a college-educated, stay-at-home mom and now Trump voter -- who feels it is no longer safe or healthy to live there. They discussed the change that has happened in the city politically, the ... Read More
U.S.

Baby Please Come Back, Says Andrew Cuomo

Then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg famously described New York City in 2003 as a “luxury product,” and therefore priced accordingly. The price hasn’t changed, except to go up slightly — taxes, rents, everything. But few would argue that the product New York offers remains first-rate. The theaters are closed. The ... Read More
U.S.

Baby Please Come Back, Says Andrew Cuomo

Then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg famously described New York City in 2003 as a “luxury product,” and therefore priced accordingly. The price hasn’t changed, except to go up slightly — taxes, rents, everything. But few would argue that the product New York offers remains first-rate. The theaters are closed. The ... Read More
Law & the Courts

New York’s Lawless NRA Lawsuit

The latest bananas news from the banana republic that is the State of New York: The attorney general, a political enemy of the National Rifle Association, is seeking to have the advocacy organization legally dissolved. The pretext is financial corruption and self-dealing on the part of the NRA’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

New York’s Lawless NRA Lawsuit

The latest bananas news from the banana republic that is the State of New York: The attorney general, a political enemy of the National Rifle Association, is seeking to have the advocacy organization legally dissolved. The pretext is financial corruption and self-dealing on the part of the NRA’s ... Read More
Elections

Joe Biden’s Authoritarian VP Finalist

Last year, Senator Kamala Harris may have become the first presidential candidate in history to laugh derisively at the idea that the Constitution limits what a president can do. When former Vice President Joe Biden said that her plan for gun control by executive fiat didn’t pass constitutional muster, she ... Read More
Elections

Joe Biden’s Authoritarian VP Finalist

Last year, Senator Kamala Harris may have become the first presidential candidate in history to laugh derisively at the idea that the Constitution limits what a president can do. When former Vice President Joe Biden said that her plan for gun control by executive fiat didn’t pass constitutional muster, she ... Read More