What is Wrong with Eliminating Genetically Based Disability?

Public Health Ethics 4 (3):218-225 (2011)
Bob Brecher
University of Brighton
An argument often made against the genetic elimination of disability is that to prevent people with a particular genetic make-up being born is to disvalue, or even threaten, those people who actually have it. The thought is that the view that the world would be a better place without, say, Huntingdon’s Chorea, must imply that the world would be a better place without those people who currently have it. In opposition to this objection to the elimination of genetically based conditions, I argue (i) that there is no significant moral difference in this regard between the elimination of genetically based and other conditions; and thus (ii) that there is no such implication. As consideration of all sorts of non-genetic examples of a person’s condition shows, to disvalue that condition is not to disvalue the person whose condition it is. No negative attitude to polio sufferers is implied by the attempt to rid the world of polio, for example. Indeed, just the opposite conclusion can be drawn
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DOI 10.1093/phe/phr029
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The Survival Lottery.John Harris - 1975 - Philosophy 50 (191):81 - 87.

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