Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Eugenics" Bill Debate: Children of a Greater God?

Lib Dem Voice are hosting a debate and poll on "Should deaf parents be able to select deaf babies?" Like Stephen Tall I heard a debate on this matter, but not the Radio Four one to which he refers. But the same deaf activist was on Radio 5, and indeed David Blunkett commented on the debate there.

As so often what the debate was and is missing was/is proportion and quantum. What deaf activist Tomato Lichy and his partner were calling for was not a wholesale screening involving deaf pregnancies in general. No designer deaf babies. Not at all.

They were saying that in the event of deaf people being involved in IVF treatment - which always involves screening and selection of embryos - that there should not be a presumption and compulsion to discard otherwise healthy embryos - perhaps the otherwise healthiest - that could be deaf.

Now it may well be that this will not make a huge difference to many people encountering the issue and feeling the irresistible urge to express an opinion, make radio programmes, lobby law makers, or change the letter of the law as the Department of Health now appears willing to do.

But from my point of view some rudimentary indication of the numbers of people affected would be informative.

Tomato Lichy is inter alia a script writer and technical producer for Deafinitely Theatre, and a performance and media artist.

There is an interesting debate at Mishka Zena's Deaf Read blog.

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