Something that got missed this week during Palin’s Going Rouge-mania and the premiere of some vampire movie for tweens… In a landmark bill, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, becomes the “most important anti-discrimination law passed in the last two decades.” The law will ban employers from administering genetic testing on their employees (in most cases). Now you can’t be let go if you have a heart condition that’s not currently acting up. Score one for the privately sick.
This law goes a way toward preventing a society based on liberal eugenics, as explored in the 1997 future-noir film Gattaca, but is it enough? As our mastery of the human genome increases, it seems only logical that improvements to our fragile frames will occur. In that film, humans are “fixed” at birth. Any inconsistencies you have as an embryo are whittled out- babies lucky enough to have parents with means are given the best possible start. An underclass is created. The haves and the have-nots compete for the same jobs. It’s easy to see who wins.
This is not called the Gattaca Law. It is not meant to address such an outcome, but it is a precedent that needed to be set. Widespread genetic engineering is coming and I wonder if we’re prepared for the consequences. What happens if it is not available to all?