Don Plooksawasdi Sociology 605 Presented to Dr. Ronet Bachman
Eugenics – noun The possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, esp. by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits.
Samuel 15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Countries which had enacted compulsory sterilization laws United States Denmark Norway Sweden Finland Countries where compulsory sterilization laws were considered Hungary United Kingdom Switzerland Poland Japan Latvia Estonia
The end of state eugenics More than 400,000 people were sterilized against their will, while 70,000 were killed by Nazi eugenics law. 9-11 millions killed by Nazi prosecution.
<ul><li>The rise of Neo-eugenics </li></ul><ul><li>New technologies allow parents to identify genetic defects and terminate unwanted pregnancies </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance of reproductive choice in progressive societies </li></ul><ul><li>The desire to improve the child’s quality of life </li></ul><ul><li>Prospect of “Designer Babies” and personalized medicine </li></ul>
Down syndrome Hydrocephalus Renal agenesis Genetic defects
Sample Annual Report, 2006. With data from 2004 Conducted by International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research from 18 Countries The World Factbook 2004 Conducted by the CIA 266 Countries
Dependent Variables: 1. Termination of pregnancy for Birth defects ( Birth defects include Down syndrome, Anencephaly, Total Limb reduction etc.) Independent Variables: 1. Fertility: average number of children born per couple. 2. Infant mortality (deaths per 1000 live births) 3. Life expectancy average 4. Religiosity Index (People who identify themselves as Atheistic, Agnostic, Secularist in %) 5. Total health expenditure (The sum of public and private health expenditures as a ratio of total population. ) 6. Status in G8 (access to medical technology, higher standard of living) 7. Western European country? (Longer period of secularization, expensive universal healthcare)
Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for 18 Countries
Table 2. Linear regression analysis predicting termination of pregnancy a. Dependent Variable: termination of pregnancy for genetic disorder (% per total birth)
Table 4. Descriptive statistics on birth defects by region Table 3. Descriptive statistics on termination of pregnancy by region Western Europe The rest of the world
Conclusion Although we may need more countries in order to increase the accuracy of the model, it does lend support that voluntary eugenics (personal genomics) is already underway in highly secularized countries like Western Europe. It lends support that personal genomics is simply a quality of life choice, based on the fact that countries that perform it spend higher in healthcare in order to enjoy higher standard of living and longer life expectancy. Religiosity seems to negatively affect the practice of voluntary eugenics, The U.S. is the only G8 country with high prevalence of Down syndrome babies. Personal genomics is balanced in part by higher maternal age. If this trend continues, we can expect further disparity between the have and have not, both within and between countries.
Recommendations Future research is needed to gauge the prevalence of personal genomics among ethnic and economic groups. Research is also needed for other parts of the world like Asia or Africa where different values may affect the practice of personal genomics. Research is also needed for each type of genetic defects, we need to be able to identify the cause of genetic defects in order to inform couples who want to have children, personal genomics should be included as part of family planning. Governments must plan for further societal disparity. education, secularization and universal healthcare coverage will help reduce the prevalence of genetic diseases, control birthrates and lift the overall standard of living. By 2108, what would it means to be human?