Genetic Engineering Of Babies Essay

1566 words - 7 pages

The issue of whether or not parents should be allowed to genetically engineer their offspring has been a controversial issue for many years. However, genetic engineering is the broad classification for smaller procedures. Eugenics is defined as the inclination of certain genes over that of others. Also the concept of “genotype choice” in which different embryos are cultivated in a lab, and then the parents select the one that is to their liking. There have been many articles written in debate of this issue, some in favor, some in opposition, and others that say yes but to an extent. In all arguments ethics always seems to surface as some say it is ethical and others oppose. Most frequently genetic engineering surfaces in the medical field, as it is believed that many illnesses and diseases could be eliminated through some form of genetic manipulation. This is why many view it as important, but also why it is encompassed with such controversy.
One person who maintains the affirmative position in this debate is Oliver Morton, a contributing editor for Wired magazine. In his article “Overcoming Yuk,” Morton puts forth his view on the topic and asserts why it should be allowed. One term that Morton refers to frequently is “the Yuk Factor.” This term was coined by Tom Wilkie an ethicist who works for a biomedical firm in London. This term refers to anything that we as humans, would instantaneously respond to by saying “yuk.” Morton argues that even though something gives us the urge to respond in that way, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be allowed. Often times this is anything that goes against our human nature. Morton refers to “genotype choice” in this sense as we aren’t really familiar with this procedure. However, he also reasons that once it was established we wouldn’t think twice on the subject and it would be more readily accepted. He backs up this reasoning by pointing out that child delivery performed in a health care facility is also unnatural. However, over time we began to accept this as a part of everyday life.
However, Morton does have some reservations in the way that eugenics should be carried out. This is conveyed when Morton says “genotype choice should be a matter for individuals [not the state or government], a personal choice about what sort of life they want their children to live” (4). This means that the government should not interfere in any aspect of eugenics. The call is entirely up to the parents whether or not they would like to use “genotype choice” when having a child.
Michael Sandel a political philosophy professor at Harvard has written in opposition towards genetic engineering. Sandel in his paper says that even though eugenics has been reputable in the past it ultimately leads to destruction. He believes that it potentially would lead to genocide. Sandel also points out that currently eugenics is only for the select few who can afford it, and in that case gives their children advantages...

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