The Social Costs of Genetic Welfare
AUTHOR: Miringoff, Marque-Luisa
PUBLISHER: Rutgers University Press
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Attitudes toward people with disabilities have taken two conflicting directions. Many people seek greater inclusion and expanded opportunities for those with disabilities. In contrast with this view, other people advocate efforts to prevent the future existence of people with disabilities, by means of genetic and reproductive engineering, including in vitro fertilization, genetic screening, surrogacy, embryo transfer, and sex selection. For these people, the focus is on avoiding disabilities. Marque Miringoff calls the first view social welfare and the second view genetic welfare. Miringoff fears that genetic welfare, with its rapid growth and scientific allure, is edging out social wefare. She acknowledges the benefits of scientific developments, but she feels we already know enough about those. She concentrates instead on the sometimes hidden dangers such technologies create, and on the danger that our tolerance for human diversity may decline.
Miringoff assesses the scientific and citizen responses to genetic and reproductive technologies. For the most part, the public remains deeply respectful toward science and medicine. There have been tentative efforts to regulate technology, but citizens are more likely to want a consultive role than a controlling one. The argument in this book is in favor of balancing the values of science with the interests and concerns of other groups, and for encouraging public debate. We must work toward public policies that are sensitive to the disadvantages of genetic welfare.
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/1/1991