Lesson 4: The New Eugenics: Genetic Testing, Screening, and Therapy (Lecture 6)

    1. The desire to improve the quality of the human race and the quality of individual members is as old as the history of mankind. Cite some significant historical and personal instances of the press of this desire.
    2. The goal of genetic engineering is to contribute to the improvement of human life. This goal becomes suspicious when it becomes the tool of the state as part of a eugenics program. In the late nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century, the United States was a leader in a eugenics program that was advanced by way of non-voluntary sterilization. Indicate some of the significant moments in the history.
    3. Read the excerpt by Oliver Wendell Holmes from the Buck v. Bell decision of the United States Supreme Court. This statement represents an apt summary of the prevailing position of a powerful elite in the United States in the early twentieth century. What are the values contained in that excerpt?
    4. Eugenics efforts in the United States exercised considerable influence on other nations. Cite and describe an example of that influence.
    5. Because of its past history with non-voluntary sterilization, the United States now has in place a formidable set of protections surrounding the important right to procreate. These protections are to be found in court decisions as well as in the department of human service guidelines. Read the court-developed guidelines for the protection of the mentally incompetent in sterilization decisions. What are the provisions of these guidelines?
    6. Advances in technology offer amazing opportunities in genetic engineering. Describe the four types of genetic engineering. What are the medical and ethical implications of each?
    7. Advances in technology offer the opportunity for prenatal genetic testing. What are the types of genetic testing now in use? What are the medical and ethical implications of each?
    8. The genetic testing of children is a particularly difficult decision. What are its problems and what guidelines are in place to protect the child?


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