Preventing couples likely to pass on serious genetic deficiencies having children
From June 1, 1995, marriages between couples likely to pass on genetic deficiencies preventing the "victim from living independently" will be banned in China. Pregnant women will be required to undergo testing and advised to abort unborn children with serious abnormalities.
Genetic defects in the human population are a significant burden to society. The most effective way to prevent serious genetic diseases and traits from reoccurring in populations is to prevent the carriers from reproducing. With prior knowledge and prevention, a baby need not be born with a cripling genetic traits. That baby will never have to lead a life handicapped by his or her genetic defects, or be a burden to society because it will never be conceived. It is self-evident that it is far better never having to be conceived than having to be aborted. However, living carriers of genetic defects must not be discriminated against in any other way, and must be given as much support as needed to lead a dignified life in society.
Ideas of selective breeding and deciding who is fit and unfit to produce are reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's experiments in creating a super race. Where does one draw the line in deciding who has fit and unfit genetic traits? There are concerns that the mentally ill among others will be targeted, regardless whether or not their condition is inherited. Anyone diagnosed with a "defect" will be disqualified from marrying under the Chinese legislation, that could so easily cover anyone whom the Chinese authorities decide is "insane" (a counter-revolutionary for instance). People labelled with genetic defects and subsequently treated in this way only become more marginalized in society. It is an immoral but convenient way to avoid our moral responsibilities to fellow man. Yes, it does make sense to advice people to abstain from reproducing with the knowledge that their offspring will be born with serious genetic defects, but only when: it is absolutely clear those defects will arise and are inherited (not environmental), and are of such severity as to doom the life of the newborn to a life spent totally dependent on care; those defects will threaten the life of the mother during pregnancy.
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