Any time in this modern era where one talks about the science of genetics, it is nearly impossible to think about the moral implications and ethical decisions that the future possesses. Currently, there aren’t many laws that govern this field of science, and one must wonder what will happen and how genetics will be governed. Two articles that I have recently read gave me a better insight on what to expect.
In one article, the author, Deborah Gridley, discusses the heated topic of genetic discrimination. Genetic discrimination is defined as “discrimination against an individual or against members of that individual’s family because of real or perceived differences from the ‘normal genome” (Gridley 973). The benefits of genetic advances are quite clear. “As the genetic causes of many diseases are found, effective treatments and cures may be developed” (Gridley). However, with genetic benefits come risks – many of which are evident in America’s history of genetic discrimination (Gridley 974). Exclusionary immigration laws, forced sterilizations, employment and insurance hardships, not to mention social stigma, were all prevalent forms of genetic discrimination throughout much of our country’s history (Gridley 974). Today, the ability to identify the number of genetically linked diseases creates a potential for discrimination even greater than that of which was experienced with sickle cell anemia in the 1970s (Girdley 974).
It is possible that insurers may require genetic testing as a prerequisite for coverage and may have the ability to refuse to cover an individual if they contain a certain genetic defect (Gridley 975).
Genetic discrimination raises various policy concerns, including those of autonomy, privacy, and justice, because a person’s DNA can be a source of highly personal information about that person’s current and future health (Gridley 975). Genetic discrimination violates the doctrine of individual justice because it eliminates an individual’s access to equal opportunity as a result of a characteristic...