Where Does the Church Stand?
is clear that many religious ethicists oppose genetic discrimination.
In 1989, the Church and Society commission of the World Council
of Churches released a study document, Biotechnology: Its
Challenges to the Churches and the World, which draws attention
to unfair discrimination...in work, health care, insurance
and education.Similarly, in the proposal approved by its 1992 General Conference,
the United Methodist Church Genetic Task Force listed prominently
among possible HGP repercussions, discrimination: the suffering
and/or hardship that may result for persons with late-onset disease
like Huntingtons or Alzheimers disease, or with a
genetic predisposition to diseases like high cholesterol levels
or arteriosclerosis.And, in 1989, the Seventeenth General Synod of the United Church
of Christ meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, approved a Pronouncement
which included a rejection of screening as a basis for determining
civil, economic, or reproductive rights.A resolution passed at the 70th General Convention of the Episcopal
Church in July of 1991 states forcefully: The use of results
of genetic screening of adults, newborns and the unborn for the
purpose of discrimination in employment and insurance is unacceptable.
clear stand against genetic discrimination provides a solid foundation
from which to build an ethical proposal, but it stops here. There
are hints that church ethicists will side with those who advocate
privacy; and there are hints that they favor some sort of national
program which guarantees
health care to everyone. What we do not
yet see among religious leaders is any overall vision regarding
the potential value (or nonvalue) of widespread use of genome
information for health care delivery.
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| Contributed by: Dr. Ted Peters