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To Enhance or Note to Enhance

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To Enhance or Note to Enhance

In “To enhance or note to enhance”, Ronald Bailey(2002) claimed that parents should be allowed to have their children genetically enhanced as long as the outcomes are beneficial from the point of view of a ‘reasonable person’ and that the risk of birth defects is no greater than those in conventional births.  He believes that with Mankind’s rapid increase in knowledge, parents should be able to well understand gene function and reduce the risk associated with the genetic engineering of their children. Additionally, Bailey argues that the opponents of genetic engineering engage in scaremongering when they suggest that parents would outlandishly modify their children because he strongly believes that parents will not risk their children’s health for trivial matters. Lastly, Bailey points out that non-genetic technological advances will be available in the future. He states that with this technology, humans can possibly do whatever we want and parents will be even less likely to risk their children’s health for extreme genetic modification. While Bailey’s points are valid, there are other important points that he did not consider, like the inequality that this legalisation may cause in societies and the excessive ambitions and expectations that parents may have for their children and these alternative points may outweigh the points mentioned in his article.

One crucial point that Bailey failed to point out in his whole article is the potential high prices of these new gene transfer technologies, especially for certain traits that may be in high demand, like enhanced memory. Thus, the rich will definitely have more access to these technologies than the poor and it is not right to “let the enhanced group exploit their advantage over the rest of us” (Plotz, 2003). This will further widen the existing rich-poor divide and soon, the poor will may potentially be limited only to lesser jobs, which further reduces their chances of affording these technologies. Furthermore, these luxurious technologies, alongside with other frivolous enhancements, will drain resources from basic healthcare for the masses (Plotz, 2003). This reduction in resources for basic health care may drive their costs up. It is not fair for the rich to have more access to these gene technologies at the expense of the masses facing more difficulties obtaining basic health care.

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