Gattaca Coming to a Doctor’s Office Near You

To be honest, the first time I watched the movie Gattaca, I thought it was one of the most boring movies I had ever watched. However, since then it has become one of my favorite sci-fi movies and I’ve watched it several times finding new nuances each time.

In the movie, genetically engineering your child is an option, you don’t have to do it. However, the local school won’t accept the un-engineered child because the insurance risk is too high; the better jobs, like engineer or astronaut, aren’t open to un-engineered persons because they’re deemed worthy of only doing menial labor; and what happens to the genetically engineered, “perfect” human when he suffers paralysis in a car accident and can no longer do the things he was programmed to do?

Too far-fetched to really happen? Not so. A new Telegraph article summarizes an article written by University of Oxford philosophy professor Julian Savulescu, who believes that we have a moral obligation to genetically engineer “better” people. The original article appears in the September issue of Reader’s Digest UK.

In the professor’s article, as partially reprinted in the Telegraph, he writes about how we should be screening for “personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence.” Because we can do this, he believes “that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children” because they will be “less likely to harm themselves and others.”

He continues (as reported in the Telegraph):

“If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring — rather than consigning them to the natural lottery — then we should.”

He said that unlike the eugenics movements, which fell out of favour when it was adopted by the Nazis, the system would be voluntary and allow parents to choose the characteristics of their children.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is still eugenics. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects (i.e. don’t let the undesirables have children), this is focusing on the positive aspects (i.e. let’s make sure everyone is has an “ethical” offspring). But the main unanswered question is: “Who decides which traits are desirable and which traits are not?”

And even though Savulescu says it should be voluntary, as we can see with the current HHS contraception mandate in the U.S., someone will eventually decide that it shouldn’t be voluntary and the government should force people to do its will. Sinful human nature being what it is eventually leads to this path. (Reference the conversation between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala in Star Wars Episode II when they are in a field on Naboo discussing poliltics…Anakin thinks it would be okay to use the Force to make star systems get in line…sound familiar?)

The article continues:

“We’re routinely screening embryos and foetuses for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Down’s syndrome, and there’s little public outcry,” he said.

“What’s more, few people protested at the decisions in the mid- 2000s to allow couples to test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes, and this pushes us a lot close to creating designer humans.”

Here’s my next question: “Who is responsible if a doctor tries to genetically engineer an undesirable trait out of a child but the child still develops that trait?” People are suing doctors and hospitals now for “wrongful birth” issues when a child is born with a genetic disease that the parents aren’t told about or weren’t caught in the genetic testing. What will happen in the future when someone says he will remove an undesirable trait and doesn’t do it?

“Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.”

This is where I start getting upset. Why does Savulescu paint everyone who is against his idea as fearing genetics? That automatically puts people on the defensive or makes them start to think that there’s nothing wrong with genetic engineering. To make my point clear, I’m not afraid of genetics, I’m afraid of what some kook will do with it. Has it occurred to Savulescu that if you can genetically engineer certain traits out of a gene sequence, then you can genetically engineer them into a sequence? What if someone wants to engineer a person worse than Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot? What if someone wants to engineer a soldier that experiences no fear going into combat or remorse over killing someone (as in the movie Soldier)?

Before we go further into this brave new world, we should keep in mind the old adage, “Just because we can do something doesn’t mean that we should.”

PS: The Telegraph article has an online poll which asks: “Should we consider genetically screening behavioural traits?” As of 4:44 p.m. EDT on August 16, “Yes, everybody benefits, including the child” received 36 percent of the votes while “No, it is wrong to play God in this way” received 64 percent.

Updated 2:40 pm. on August 17, 2012.

The Nazi Plan Step 2

This is part 4 of my thoughts from The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton (click here to see it on Amazon.com)  Click here to read part 3.

The second step of the Nazi plan that Dr. Lifton identified was the killing of “impaired” children in hospitals. It started innocently enough, midwives and physicians were asked to completed reports at the time of birth. The first reports asked for information where “‘serious hereditary diseases’ were ‘suspected’: idiocy and mongolism (especially when associated with blindness and deafness); microcephaly; hydrocephaly; malformations of all kinds, especially of limbs, head, and spinal columns; and paralysis, including spastic conditions.”(52)

Children who were labelled with a hereditary disease were continually evaluated until they eventually arrived in special wards “whose chiefs and prominent doctors were known to be politically reliable and ‘positive’ toward the goals of the Reich Committee.'”(53) The children were eventually killed in those wards.

Why did parents allow this to happen to their children? How can someone convince a parent that it would be better to kill his child than to let the child live? They used the idea where healing and killing were reversed. Lifton writes (54):

A doctor could tell a parent that “it might be necessary to perform a surgical operation that could possibly have an unfavorable result,” or explain that “the ordinary therapy employed until now could no longer help their child so that extraordinary therapeutic measures have to be taken.” Dr. Heinze, who used such phrases with parents, explained in court testimony that there had been truth to what he said: “A very excitable child . . . completely idiotic . . . could not be kept   quiet with the normal dose of sedatives,” so that “an overdose . . . had to be used in order to . . . avoid endangering itself through its own restlessness.” At the same time, “we physicians know that such an overdose of sedative, for children usually luminal . . . could cause pneumonia . . . and that this is virtually incurable.”

“Horrible,” you think to yourself. “Unconscionable,” you suggest. What if you were told that this happens everyday today in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom? What if you were told that anywhere between 85 to 92 percent of the babies diagnosed with Downs Syndrome in the U.S. were aborted? (Click here, here, or here for more information.) What if you were told that during the in vitro fertilization procedure, preimplantation genetic diagnosis is conducted on the embryo and those with Down Syndrome or some other genetic disease were discarded? (Click here for a recent article.)

Make no mistake, step 2 of the Nazi plan is alive and well as we abort babies or discard embryos just because they have some sort of genetic disease.

And don’t forget about making killing sound like healing. For example, how do pro-aborts talk about abortions and abortion-inducing drugs? They are considered as part of women’s healthcare. Opponents of abortion or mandatory insurance coverage for possible abortion-inducing drugs (e.g. Ella, Plan B, morning after pill) are vilified by the media and by pro-aborts as not caring for women’s health.

And how do the supporters of physician assisted suicide get it legalized? By saying this is a medical treatment that will help end the suffering of the patient. In physician assisted suicide, the person wanting to die gets a prescription that basically is an overdose of painkillers or sedatives. Does that sound familiar?

Yes, the tactics that the Nazis employed are still in use by those who want society to embrace death as a cure.

Update July 19, 2012.

The Nazi Plan

This is part 3 of my thoughts from The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton (click here to see it on Amazon.com)  Click here to read part 2.

In order to rid the Volk of this disease, Dr. Lifton identified five distinctive steps in the Nazis process (21):

  1. Coercive sterilization of those deemed less “desirable”
  2. The killing of “impaired” children in hospitals
  3. The killing of “impaired” adults in centers especially equipped with carbon monoxide gas
  4. The killing of “impaired” inmates of concentration and extermination camps
  5. Mass killings in the extermination camps

Most people that I’ve related these five steps outlined here are repulsed by the thought that any government would sanction these actions. But of course, we’re doing it today in the U.S. I’ll make the connections for you in subsequent posts but I’ll start here with Step 1: Coercive sterilization.

Many states in the U.S. had passed forced sterilization laws in the early 1900’s. Some of these states kept enforcing these laws into the 1970’s. Read recent news articles about the eugenic past of the U.S. by clicking here to read about forced sterilization in North Carolina or clicking here to read about forced sterilization in Washington.

The difference between Nazi Germany and the rest of the world was that the Nazis went on to steps 2-5 and the rest of the world didn’t, or did they?

Stayed tuned to see how we kill “impaired” children today. (Click here to read part 4.)

Gendercide in America

I’ve written about gendercide in China over the years (read about The China Model and Forced Abortion in China), but did you know that Planned Parenthood will tell you how you can do the same here in the US? In fact, in Arizona–where it is illegal to get an abortion based on the gender of the baby–they tell you specifically NOT to tell the abortionist that this is why you want an abortion or else he won’t do it.

You can see the Live Action videos that expose this practice from Texas (Part 1), New York City (Part 2), Arizona (Part 3), Hawaii (Part 4), and North Carolina (Part 5).

Why is it important to know this is happening? Because some pro-aborts suggest that it’s okay to get an abortion for whatever reason you want, including the gender of the baby. From a recent blog on the website, Slate:

Let’s just remember that we are talking about fetuses. No matter how many ultrasound pics get posted to Facebook, these are fetuses with female genitals or male genitals—not little girls and little boys.

Beside the incorrect understanding of biology–if you have female genitals, then you’re a girl; and if you have male genitals, then you’re a boy–the author makes sense in the rest of the article. If pro-aborts hesitate to say that abortion is okay even if it’s based on the baby’s gender, then what other reasons can a pro-lifer offer where it doesn’t make sense that a woman should get an abortion?

For the pro-abort this is a slippery slope the other way, one that will lead to abolishing abortion-on-demand completely. They understand what’s really at stake, so no matter how immoral the reason for getting the abortion, or how sickened you might be to know that people want to kill their babies just because of the baby’s gender, the author of the blog on Slate say, “Gulp for a second if you must, then get over it [emphasis added].”

Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, Part 2

This is part 2 of my thoughts from The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton (click here to see it on Amazon.com)  Click here to read part 1.

The inculcation of genocide into the medical professional’s psyche was methodical. It began with dehumanizing the perceived “enemy” of the state: the Jews. Lifton wrote: “At the heart of the Nazi enterprise, then, is the destruction of the boundary between healing and killing” (14). He then recounts a discussion between a survivor physician and a Nazi doctor (15ff):

But there is another perspective on medicalized killing that I believe to be insufficiently recognized: killing as a therapeutic imperative. That kind of motivation was revealed in the words of a Nazi doctor quoted by the distinguished survivor physician Dr. Ella Lingens-Reiner. Pointing to the chimneys in the distance, she asked a Nazi doctor, Fritz Klein, “How can you reconcile that with your [Hippocratic] oath as a doctor?” His answer was, “Of course I am a doctor and I want to preserve life. And out of respect for human life, I would remove a gangrenous appendix from a diseased body. The Jew is the gangrenous appendix in the body of mankind.”

Isn’t that exactly what we have today in the abortion industry? In fact, abortion and abortifacients are often sold to the public as “women’s healthcare” because the easiest way to get people to support what you want is to tell them that you’re trying to help them. By calling abortion and abortifacients a part of women’s healthcare a wall is built so that those who are pro-abortion care for women and those who are against abortion do not care for women.

But the reality in Nazi Germany was the leaders, the perpetrators of the ideology, didn’t want to help anyone but themselves and those that were caught up in it (the doctors) didn’t even realize what had happened to their view of reality.

Click here to read about the five identifiable steps to the Nazi plan in part 3.

Updated July 16, 2012.