Gene Editing as Eugenics

Question Description

I need an explanation for this Philosophy question to help me study.


1. “Eugenics refers to beliefs and practices aimed at producing human being or populations with preferred or “better” characteristics” (Center for Genetics and Society, 2021). From my understanding eugenic focuses on the reproduction of an offspring with “good traits” and if there’s a chance on an offspring having a “bad trait” the chances of the reproduction will be eliminated to prevent future suffering. One form of eugenics I came across during this research was unwanted/ forced sterilization due to high chances of an offspring having some type of medical or physical condition and even financial status plays a role. “Eugenics called for restricting the reproduction of those deemed unfit. In practice, forced sterilization efforts largely targeted the least-powerful people: minority women, immigrants, the physically and mentally ill, and the poor” (HiddenBrain, 2019). As the textbook also mentions, “While Nazis sterilized 225,000 “ mental defective,” America also sterilized such people. Indiana required sterilization in 1907 of the “retarded and criminally insane,” and 30 states soon followed, led by California, Virginia, and Indiana” (Pence, 2017). Is this in any case considered morally correct?

The first thought that crosses my mind when I think of unwanted/ forces sterilization is that it’s an obligation and your own personal opinion doesn’t matter, what happens to autonomy? In this situation, I would not consider such practice justifiable. I believe with this type of eugenic they are revoking the chances of someone experiencing what it’s like to create a new life, regardless of the complications that may come along down the road I don’t believe a court should have to decide whether someone can reproduce based on their financial status, or health history. I came across a story of a 21yr old female who received a state-order operation to have her fallopian tubes cut preventing her from having children, when they asked her if she was sad, she said, “Yes, I was sad. Cause see, I wanted to have children” (HiddenBrain, 2019). I strongly believe deciding to have children should be a personal decision even when knowing the complications that may present in the future. Everyone should have a chance to “creating a new life.”

2. Genetics is the “study of heredity” where certain genes of both parents are passed on to the offspring (Mandal, 2021). These genes provide the basis of what the offspring traits will contain including hair color, eye color, facial complexions among others. There are couples who are unable to reproduce and may use alternative treatments if they wish to have children that will carry their genes. Alternative treatments include IVF, surrogacy, and freezing gametes for later use.

Genetics offers options to couples who are unable to conceive naturally and have the desire to have children to carry their genes. For example, looking at the option of IVF treatment entails combining sperm and one or more eggs in a laboratory and after a few days implanting it in the woman’s uterus (Focus on the Family, 2020). In my opinion, I think that providing options to couples who haven’t been able to conceive is important because the family may be an important part of their life, and not being able to have children may affect their relationship as a couple. There are people in society who do not agree with IVF because the embryos that are not used are destroyed or used for research (Focus on the Family, 2020). There have been advancements in this field where only a certain number of embryos are made and implanted in the mother’s uterus and none are frozen. I think that anyone who is economically stable, mentally competent, and has the desire to have children should be able to have options like IVF. I don’t agree with having extra embryos and destroying them but if science is becoming more vigilant of what has been occurring and is trying to fix the ethical dilemma I think IVF should be an option. There are adults who become parents and have mistreated and in some unfortunate cases even killed their children furthermore if they were not prohibited from having children why should a person who is more than qualify to be a parent be forbidden to have offspring? Do you think couples who are unable to conceive naturally be restricted from having a family?

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