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Brave new world here already


Confirmation of New Zealand’s first baby developed through pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has highlighted the fact that the genetic engineering of human babies is now in the realm of science fact, not fiction and could soon be carried out here.

Groundswell spokesperson Tremane Barr has said “There needs to be a ban placed on the genetic engineering of designer babies. Unfortunately the government ignored these calls during the development of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Amendment Bill and through this now allows people to apply to genetically engineer human beings.”

The amendments earlier in the year to the HSNO Act includes the right for people to apply to the Minister of Health to carry out the genetic engineering of designer babies. The Minister could then refer this, if they wanted to, to a panel of experts to consider public submissions and then the Minister would have to take this panels advice into account.

“This government is so pro-genetic engineering it couldn’t even bring itself to ban the genetic engineering of designer babies and the potential creation of a master race.” said Tremane Barr.

“In my verbal submission for Groundswell to the select committee considering the Bill I pointed out that PGD could be ethically acceptable if carried out within strict regulations as it allows parents to avoid passing on genetic abnormalities to their children that could have negative health implications. Therefore, it was no excuse to pretend that genetically engineering designer babies was necessary on the basis of health grounds alone. The fact is the government used this excuse to allow for the possibility of genetically engineered designer babies for non-health reasons. The reality is that this law means only one thing – the government intends to allow the creation of a GE master race some time in the future.”

Richard Hayes in an article on the Science and Politics of Genetically Modified Humans for World Watch Magazine has stated earlier in the year that it is not necessary to genetically engineer babies in order “to enable couples to avoid passing inheritable genetic diseases such as Tay Sachs and cystic fibrosis to their children. This is not so, and those who say it is are either mis-informed or seeking to mislead. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and other options available today allow such couples to have children completely free of the harmful genes, in all but a very small number of situations.” Therefore, the genetic engineering of designer babies is “necessary only if a couple wished to ‘enhance’ a child with genes that neither of them carry.”

“The government has set in place legislation that could take New Zealand society down the path to a eugenics nightmare of the Gene Rich vs. the Naturals and must be stopped. What previously had been science fiction in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is rapidly turning into science fact and all the evil it could entail. The warning signs from the first PGD baby are there and now civil society must act to change government policy and the law to fully regulate the use of PGD and ban genetically engineered designer babies.”

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