Sunday, November 9, 2008
Nov 10 McGee – Ch 5 (Genetic Approaches to Family and Public Health)
I agree with McGee’s stance on the caution with which we should proceed while pursuing genetic testing technologies. In making these tests available, they should not be dispensed without provision of adequate information as regards risk and probability as well as accuracy of the tests themselves. I think the public often knows too little to make informed decisions and simply operates on gut instinct combined with small bits of often excessively biased information. To say that genetic testing ought not be allowed at all makes little sense based on the amount of crucial, perhaps life-saving, data one can obtain from these tests; now that the technology is available, we have a mechanism to proceed but not enough significant rationale to bring an end to genetic testing. Yes, results of genetic tests could lead to decisions to abort fetuses or to pressure children and mold them into “perfect babies,” but if we were to eliminate all genetic testing for these reasons alone, we could miss the opportunities these tests create, such as better preparing for or treating children born with genetic disorders. Guns also have the power to destroy life yet we continue producing these weapons because of their potential for defense, their potential to save lives. Likewise, just because genetic testing offers the opportunity to be used for destruction does not mean it must be a means to such ends. We can continue using genetic testing for the purpose of helping people and maximize efforts to prevent its use in the destruction of human life.