Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stop Eugenics video and the HFEB

The HFEB, or Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (the full phrase sounds ominous already, doesn't it?) is a piece of legislation before the British parliament that would make it illegal for couples or individuals to choose for an "abnormality." Clause 14 spells it out:
Persons or embryos that are known to have a gene, chromosome or mitochondrion abnormality involving a significant risk that a person with the abnormality will have or develop—

(a) a serious physical or mental disability,
(b) a serious illness, or
(c) any other serious medical condition,

must not be preferred to those that are not known to have such an abnormality.
This would prohibit, say, a Deaf woman from choosing a deaf donor to increase the chances of her child being deaf like her. There are myriad other troubling possibilities. English bloggers Grumpy Old Deafies are all over the case. Today they posted a video made in protest of the HFEB by stopeugenics.org:





Transcript of the title cards, which appear in white against black, between scenes of a line of paper cutout dolls being cut away from the line, one by one, with large scissors:

Nobody's perfect.
Nobody.
Not even you.
Stop Eugenics.
Just stop.
stopeugenics.org

More videos from the same campaign are here.

10 comments:

Earnest said...

What you need to post is the relevant portion of the Explanatory Notes (found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldbills/006/en/2008006en.pdf

Relevant portion:

109. Clause 14(4) contains a provision that relates to the provisions on embryo testing (see note on clause 11). New sections 13(8) to (11) amend the 1990 Act to make it a condition of a treatment licence that embryos that are known to have an abnormality (including a gender-related abnormality) are not to be preferred to embryos not known to have such an abnormality. The same restriction is also applied to the selection of persons as gamete or embryo donors. This would prevent similar situations to cases, outside the UK, where positive selection of deaf donors in order deliberately to result in a deaf child have been reported.

Kay Olson said...

The same restriction is also applied to the selection of persons as gamete or embryo donors.

So, this means one would be prohibited from choosing a deaf sperm donor, right? Or even someone with a strong genetic chance of developing diabetes or heart disease, etc?

Amazing. (And other unprintable words!) Is this such a particular problem in Britain that it came up for debate?

Penny L. Richards said...

Thanks Earnest--now you have posted it! And that phrase "gender-related abnormality"--yikes.

Penny L. Richards said...

Kay--that's my reading of it. No more IVF for couples where one or both has a congenital disability, I guess?

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