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 pre-natal 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.