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Q: [S]ometimes when parents learn that their child has Down Syndrome, they terminate the pregnancy. What is your opinion of that sort of scenario?
A: I’m troubled that the applications of genetics that are currently possible are oftentimes in the prenatal arena. That is not the reason I went into this field.
The reason I went into this field was to figure out how to treat illnesses, rather than try to stop such individuals from even being born. But, of course, in our current society, people are in a circumstance of being able to take advantage of those technologies. And we have decided as a society that that choice needs to be defended.
“It is difficult to say you can’t abort, but for overall cultural mores, you run into problems,” Dr. Collins said. “It’s the classic slippery slope. You have a gray scale going from diseases like Tay-Sachs disease that cause death in early childhood all the way to the other end of the spectrum with abortions for sex selection, which most people would say is a misuse of technology. In between is a gray zone. Where do you draw the line?“
I would argue that the immediate product of a skin cell and an enucleated egg cell fall short of the moral status of the union of sperm and egg. The former is not part of God’s plan to create a human individual. The latter is very much God’s plan, carried out through the millennia by our own species and many others.