Human genetic technology has advanced rapidly in recent years to the point where amniocentesis is commonplace and in vitro fertilization has been successful. On the horizon looms the specter of human cloning and genetic engineering, raising a storm of new moral and ethical questions. These questions, asserts the author, are not the only ones to be considered; the impact and role of public policy are equally critical. What part should the state play in human genetic intervention? To what extent does a democratic society have the duty to take steps to reduce genetic disease and improve the quality of life through genetic engineering? If society has such responsibility, at what stage does societal good preempt individual rights? What is society's obligation toward future generations and is genetic manipulation justifiable on these grounds? After surveying the state of the art, the author grapples with these questions, contending that decisions ultimately will not be based on ethical and moral grounds –they will be fought out in the political arena.
Table of Contents
Also of Interest -- Preface -- Gentic Technology and Society -- Applications of Human Genetic Technology -- Democratic Concepts and Human Genetic Intervention -- The Public Policy Context of Human Genetic Intervention -- Assessing Human Genetic Programs -- Conclusions
Robert H. Blank is professor and chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University of Idaho.