Were I an extremist, I might be spinning sci-fi nonsense.
However, I am a realist. I am taking into consideration past actions of medicine, politics, and the human race in general and applying this toward
future abuse potential in the field of genetics.
After all, if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck...chances are that we might be looking at another duck.
Accountability is difficult to assign in the circles most interested in genetic profiling.
In the insurance field, there are no regulations preventing a health insurance company from assigning
premiums and even denying benefits based on one's genetic blueprint. A person can be completely
healthy, but a questionable gene or two can cause refusal of benefits or greatly increased premiums.
The current state of HMOs show us that a person's health is not a subject of concern. They are
corporations concerned about the bottom line, and if the bottom line is eliminating potential
future financial risk, then a corporation will
surely take that route.
In a similar vein, there is no regulation preventing employers from using genetic information to make
hire/fire decisions. Will you hold companies accountable for not misusing this information? A gene indicating a future potential for heart disease
can legally be used to eliminate you from a potential job you are qualified for; a potential for future disease means a potential for sick days and
therefore lost money.
Currently, criminals convicted of certain violent crimes are not only fingerprinted, but a sample of their DNA is stored in a national database.
Certainly this is a wise use of DNA profiling, but who else will have their DNA stored?
In Britain, BioBank wants half a million blood samples for "research purposes." That's half a million people who have never raped or murdered
anyone with their DNA stored in a data bank made availible to outside companies, including pharmaceutical companies.
There's also the NDNAD. Have you heard of it? Probably not. It's the National DNA Database, and it
claims to hold DNA data for over 2 million people. Were it just criminals, this might be seen as a positive resource for law enforcement. Why, then,
does it also contain DNA information on non-criminal mentally disordered people?
If you want something from today's "real world" that gives you pause, pay attention to the recent populatiry of "Child ID kits." Several
companies offer this service, often for free; they will fingerprint your child, photograph them, and take a DNA sample in case your child is ever
reported missing. When out shopping with my sister one afternoon last month, we passed by a folding table outside a Walmart staffed by two
nicely-dressed gentlemen. They explained they were offering this Child ID service right then and there, and asked if we had children in the family.
After politely declining, we walked off while my sister cursed up and down that nobody's getting her son's DNA to do God knows what with. These
words from a person that doesn't know a kerotype from a carrot stick? Who would think this to be a good idea?
This is a mass collection of genetic evidence on our nation's children. There are laws requiring websites to warn children not to enter questionable
sites, but private companies and governmental agencies alike are free to run wild with our youth's DNA.
I ask again: who would think this to be a good idea, any of it?