If I had been supernumerary – I wouldn’t be here today ...

No to a barrier-free reproductive medicine

by Sylvia Flückiger, member of the National Council, Swiss People’s Party, Canton of Aargau

... and I would not even have been able to defend myself. Human life is a miracle and a gift, the crowning glory of God’s creation. We have to be constantly aware of this despite of everything else that we desire. Life is not disposable and we are not entitled to freely experiment with and select it.
At the end of December 2015 a broad non-party coalition called for a Federal referendum against the new Reproductive Medicine Act with 58,112 valid signatures. The new act opens the doors to a boundless and arbitrary reproductive medicine. Parliament has gone beyond the Federal Council’s earlier proposal, on which we voted in June 2015. Widespread arbitrary application of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and controversial genetic testing crosses ethical and regulatory boundaries. In this way selection of human beings with disabilities would become commonplace.

Diversity instead of selection

It was the Federal Council’s original intention to allow Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis only for parents with a suspected serious hereditary disease. But Parliament goes much further:
The new law allows analysis of all embryos created outside the womb with all technically available genetic tests, checking out all possible genetic defects. In the future embryos with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) would thus be discarded and eliminated before transplantation into the mother’s womb. This means that they would be sacrificed for arbitrary societal desirability.
This would inevitably lead to discrimination against people with disabilities, because they would thus be considered undesirable and avoidable risks.
The revised law also stipulates that per each treatment cycle twelve instead of three embryos may in future be developed. This would create supernumery life which could be deep-frozen.
After a maximum of 10 years, the embryos must be exterminated or made available to research. This is against the dignity of human life, which is inviolable.

Demands will ever increase

Some scientists and politicians are already discussing and requesting the production of so-called saviour babies as well as oocytes donation. For some even embryo donation and surrogate motherhood, prohibited in the constitution, are no longer untouchable subjects. At the same time, technical progress has advanced so far that the selection of or influence on various other properties of our children will soon no longer be taboo. Designer-babies are within our reach.
Human life is a great and fantastic work of God’s creation. And it should remain so in future, with all due respect to our wishes and to research. There are limits, and with the present Reproductive Medicine Act, they are clearly being exceeded. Do we want this?

Distinction between valuable and worthless life

Human life begins with the fusion of egg and sperm; followed by a mysterious, yes, by an even incredibly fantastic time of development. By means of screening and genetic testing, the supposedly best embryos will now be selected in the laboratory. A distinction will be made between valuable, worthy to live life and inferior life which is not worth living. Who wants to be the judge on life and death?
The remaining embryos will be frozen and can be used later for research purposes. This approach devalues not only human life to something which can be manipulated according to desires. It gives false messages to the society. The scanned embryos can be exterminated when abnormalities – for instance a down syndrome (trisomy 21) – become apparent. At the same time, the embryos could be damaged or fatally injured by the measures of investigation. Also, it is not impossible that healthy embryos will be erroneously selected for extermination.
Therefore, a clear No to the selection between precious and inferior life is needed on 5 June 2016 at the ballot box, and a No to more and more arbitrary gene testing as well as a No to this barrier-free Reproduction Medicine Act.     •
(Translation Current Concerns)