gunderson1.doc - A peer-reviewed electronic journal...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
A peer-reviewed electronic journal published by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies ISSN 1541-0099 18(1) – May 2008 Enhancing Human Rights: How the Use of Human Rights Treaties to Prohibit Genetic Engineering Weakens Human Rights Martin Gunderson Department of Philosophy Macalester College [email protected] Journal of Evolution and Technology - Vol. 18 Issue 1 – May 2008 – pgs 27-34 http://jetpress.org/v18/gunderson1.html Abstract Genetic engineering for purposes of human enhancement poses risks that justify regulation. I argue, however, that it is inappropriate to use human rights treaties to prohibit germ-line genetic engineering whether therapeutic or for purposes of enhancement. The scope and weight of human rights make them poor tools for regulating a rapidly developing technology such as genetic engineering. On the other hand, international treaties are appropriate regulatory tools as long as prohibitions are not put in terms of human rights. Introduction It is easy to sympathize with those who are concerned about human genetic engineering. While the use of genetic engineering for therapeutic purposes that do not affect future generations has held out great promise and inspired a range of studies, it has also led to problems including deaths and leukemia (Boylan and Brown 2001, 29). Germ-line engineering, which affects future generations, holds out the promise of preventing genetic diseases, especially monogenetic diseases such as hemophilia, Franconi’s anemia and amyotropic lateral sclerosis, but it is not clear what the risks will be. There are also dreams of using genetic engineering for purposes of enhancing human traits. While it is not clear at present how far we will be able to accomplish this, if we are successful it may create troublesome inequalities and worries about changes in human nature itself. Some fear not just untoward side effects, but catastrophe. Francis Fukyama writes about humanity being transformed into a posthuman future, and Lee Silvers worries that humans might be engineered to the point where there are separate species of the GenRich and the Naturals (Fukuyama 2002; Silvers 1997, 246-247). Those who are impressed with visions of potential dystopias sometimes argue that humans have a human right to their own genetic identity. According to George Annas, Lori Andrews and Rosario Isasi, “cloning and inheritable genetic alterations can be seen as crimes against humanity” (Annas et al 2002, 153). The
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
European Parliament has adopted a resolution providing that people have a human right to their own genetic identity (European Parliament, 1998, Article 1). Several international treaties have also grounded prohibitions of germ-line genetic engineering and non-therapeutic genetic engineering on human rights (Council of Europe 1997, Article 13) It is clear that regulation will be needed as we move forward. But what form should the regulations take?
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern