Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Times of London "Choosing a Deaf Baby is Criminal"

The chief executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (RNID) has indicated that "DEAF parents should be allowed to screen their embryos so they can pick a deaf child over one that has all its senses intact."
There is currently a bill that would effectively make it illegal for individuals to choose a disabled embryo over a "healthy" embryo. This would apply to individuals who had undergone IVF and make it illegal for parents undergoing embryo screening to choose an embryo with an abnormality if healthy embryos exist.
The argument that disability charities are making is that the legislation is discriminatory "because it gives parents the right to create “designer babies” free from genetic conditions while banning couples from deliberately creating a baby with a disability. "
This raises some intersting questions about the nature of disability and the social model of disability discussed in an earlier post of mine. It is even more pronounced in the Deaf community where not having hearing is not considered a disability. By the social model, in the Deaf community, it wouldn't be a handicap.

A follow up commnetary is very direct in saying that that choosing an embryo that is deaf over a healthy one would be child abuse.

"The law forbids parents with a political or cultural agenda from screening the embryos and then perversely ensuring that their child cannot hear. I am afraid that making such a choice is child abuse."

Disability Nation's take on this issue, with a link to a BBC interview (via Ouch)with Tomato Lichy, who's opposing the bill.

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