Monday, 15 October 2018

Eugenics


Professor John Rasko AO wearing suit and standing in front of blue background.
Coming from an area of the world that leads the way in Cochlear Implantation.  You won't find many who support deliberately disabling a child for 'cultural' reasons, it's on par with genital mutilation and such which are equally abominable.  

I want my child deaf because I am?  Selfish.  Of course, the factual, omission of CHOICE is reprehensible in this article.  Parents don't choose disability as an option it occurs for many reasons and so far few cures in the womb for most.  No parent wants a disabled child to satisfy someone else's lifestyles, they want the best for that child.  Women all over the world (even deaf ones!), take supplements and medical care to ensure lesser chances of a child being born disabled or ill.  They are the ones who nurture and provide for it.  

It's hypocritical to state I want a deaf child, but I don't want a disabled one. If that 'best' is hearing they will go for it but no-one can offer that.  This is all emotive not subjective.  The propagation of deafness is an assault on the majority of hearing loss fighting its effects daily.  Just so a minority of deaf can self-perpetuate their own experience.  That doesn't suggest it is the best interests of the child at all.

The Item:

"There's great concern that eugenics has returned — by the back door," he says. "When pregnant women and their partners take up the option of prenatal testing, there is an inbuilt expectation that they'll end the pregnancy if Down syndrome is diagnosed. "The pressure is even greater on people who use IVF …some IVF clinics simply won't allow the implantation of an embryo with genetic abnormalities." The flipside of prenatal screening Prenatal screening may reduce disease and disability, but it also carries sinister implications. 

As Professor Rasko points out, the idealisation of a disease-free future implies a negative attitude towards people living today with Down syndrome and other genetic conditions. "Not all genetic disorders bring great suffering or hardship; some people even regard their genetic condition as an asset," he says. "For instance, not all people born with deafness consider themselves disabled — they're proud to be part of a deaf community, with its own language, culture and identity." 

Some IVF clinics will only implant embryos that "pass" genetic tests.  It's for this reason, Professor Rasko says, that some members of the deaf community have demanded the right to use prenatal testing and IVF to select in favour of deafness. "They want their children to be like them — part of the deaf community," he explains. "They argue that, if those with hearing are allowed to discard 'deaf embryos', then they should be allowed to discard 'hearing embryos'. "What strikes me is that these deaf activists aren't trying to shut the eugenics 'backdoor', so much as make it swing in the other direction." 

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