“Eugenics must not gain entry into our society”

“Eugenics must not gain entry into our society”

Interview with National Councillor Christine Bulliard-Marbach, CVP Fribourg

Current Concerns: Why do you oppose the amendment to the Constitution? What would happen if the article was adopted?

National Councillor Bulliard-Marbach: I speak out quite clearly against the amendment because I am against selection. I  oppose the fact that medicine should decide whether a life is worth living or not. My conviction thereabout is so strong that I do not want something like that to happen. Eugenics must not find its way into our society. It can not be that we humans may choose what a child is to look like. This is what it would amount to.

What are the objectives pursued by eugenics?

Here it is me determining what the genes of a developing human being are to be; that is  unethical. We know examples from  history about such ways of thinking, that is something we must absolutely not encourage.

What would be the consequences of his constitutional amendment?

It opens the door to selection. If the constitution permits us to implement such things, they will be practiced – and that is what I am desperately warning against. We must not forget the effects  this will have upon young couples who do not like to do these check-ups. They would be exposed to an enormous pressure. Above all it would concern women who have become pregnant naturally and who do not use all these methods and who would like to let the baby develop naturally. For this reason I consider this very dangerous;  for every human being has a right to live.

What are you thinking of?

We know examples of persons who suffer from Trisomy 21. These are happy human beings who have feelings and  show them, who can be cheerful or sad, precisely like all other human beings can. In this sense, I have got a strong conviction which is quite clear.

How about parents with a hereditary handicap?

If the parents have got a hereditary disease PID is certainly something which should be used. I am not opposing that. Here, medical progress should be applied. But this is no reason to select embryos at any price. In that case we will have several of these embryos. If the first does not match, we will take the second one, and then the third one, etc. In the end the question  remains what is to be done with the surplus embryos.

Who is to decide that?

Yes, here the  parents enter a very difficult situation if it is up to them to decide what they are going to do with them. We have got to leave certain developments to nature, with which we must not interfere. It is for this reason that I am clearly against PID in every case. I am not opposing the application of PID in case of severe hereditary diseases where there is a probability that it might be transmitted.

To what extent is the pharmaceutical industry interested in this development?

You may certainly assume  that there is an interest. It deals with business, and it is about that business here, of course. In case it is reasonable, the bargain may be concluded. But for me the ethical question is more important, and economy has to take a backseat. The pharmaceutical industry has got a direct  interest in it, that’s for sure.  But that is not only negative. We need that pharmaceutical industry for scientific progress. But it always depends for what purpose and for whom.

Mrs National Councillor Bulliard-Marbach, thank you very much for the Interview.•

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