Eugenics in 2010: Obama Officials Follow Gattaca Movie, Genetic Discrimination

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Eugenics in 2010: Obama Officials Follow Gattaca Movie, Genetic Discrimination

by Kristan Hawkins
March 31, 2010 Note: Kristan Hawkins is executive director of Students for Life of America and runs, a Web site devoted to raising awareness of rationing for children with special needs in the healthcare legislation.

Have you ever seen the movie Gattaca starring Ethan Hawke and Jude Law?

In case you missed it, here’s a brief summary: Set in a future time, a “genetically-inferior” man (Ethan Hawke) wants to travel to space. However, society has deemed him less suitable because of his genetic make-up and has placed him in a lower class of humans only suitable for menial tasks.

Hawke’s character was conceived the “old-fashioned” way and not in the new “normal” way, by in-vitro where only the best embryos are selected and then genetically enhanced. At birth, genetic counselors foretold how Hawke would die and at what age.. In order to achieve his dream, Hawke’s character, through an elaborate scheme, deceives others into believing he is a part of the superior class.

The crux of the story is this: society judged Hawke’s character at the moment of his birth, discriminating against him because of his genetic make-up.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my son Gunner’s diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis, an expensive-to-treat and fatal genetic disease.

I have been warning for months that Gunner and other children like him will be adversely affected by the President’s healthcare policies and in the past week my warnings have been confirmed.

A week before the doomed healthcare vote, Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) admitted to the National Review Online that Congressional Democrats argued that passing his pro-life amendment which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion will result in more children and therefore higher healthcare costs. They’re saying: “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more.”

This argument isn’t new but in fact is the same old 1970’s argument that John Holdren (the President’s Science Czar) used when saying that the more people there are, the less food there will be. This 1970’s argument has been regurgitated in 2010 with a healthcare slant: the more people, the less healthcare available for you and me.

Democrats in Congress know that incentivizing abortions by making them cheaper and more accessible will lead to higher abortion rates costing less healthcare dollars and making those limited funds available for some other person.

When the state is involved in the cost of healthcare, it knows that it is dealing with scare resources and that rationing will have to occur. This fact has already been reiterated multiple times by President Obama’s Comparative Effectiveness Research Council appointee and brother to his Chief-of-Staff, Dr. Zeke Emanuel.

Emanuel admitted in The Lancet medical journal last January that cost-cutting measures in healthcare reform are merely “lipstick” and rationing will have to occur in any government healthcare system.

He even went so far as to describe his ideal rationing plan where those at the beginning and end of life would receive 2nd tier healthcare when scarcity develops. In the article, he further talks about his sense of “communitarianism” and how those who are unproductive members of society are a burden and healthcare dollars could be best spent elsewhere. Bottom line Message: We only want the “genetically” superior people and less is better.

To Dr. Emanuel, my son Gunner is an excess burden on society.

Yet, he has been appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Comparative Effectiveness Research Council, the body that will make “recommendations” to doctors as to how to treat their patients in the most cost-effective way.

People were shocked by what Rep. Stupak revealed: many Congressional Democrats feel that his pro-life amendment will lead to more babies and cost society more.

Today, new advances being made with prenatal genetic testing aren’t for the benefit of the family, but for the destruction of the pre-born child within the mother. The ability to diagnose diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, and others while the child is still in the womb means a greater chance a woman will be encouraged and pressured to abort, thus limiting that child’s “burden” on society.

It is shocking what you find if you Google search the phrase “cost benefit analysis of prenatal testing” and read the medical journal articles (especially those coming out of Europe on this issue).

Now that Obamacare has passed, will prenatal genetic tests eventually move from being voluntary to mandatory, in the name of cost-savings? Down the road, will abortions be encouraged by the state or even forced on those children who will have special needs or will need life-long medical care?

Further, what will happen to children to who are born with costly diseases? Will they receive the best medical care or just enough to “make them comfortable?” Today, in America, this rationing is already happening to many babies born with Trisomy 18 and 13, as parents have gone on the record proving medical doctors told them they had to think about “resources” when making the decision as to how to treat their children. Thankfully, the cases today aren’t uniform but the misjudgment of one or two doctors. What will happen if people like Dr. Emanuel are writing the guidelines of care for all doctors?

As it was with Ethan Hawke’s character in Gattaca, will there come a time when people are judged by their genetic make-up as to whether they live or die in order to serve the best interests of society’s superior class?

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