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Letters to the editor

No to Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)

The “pro”-arguments in the referendum campaign for PGD are dishonest. Felix Gutzwiller claimed in the “Thurgauer Zeitung” from 26.05.2015, that the constitutional change was merely “a moderate adaptation of the legal framework for fertility treatment.” In fact, it was a paradigm shift – away from the protection of life towards the selection of embryos. Performing PGD, the fittest (!) embryo will be selected and implanted into the uterus, and the others will be frozen, discarded or used for research. This means nothing else but the decision between lives worthy or unworthy of living – a fact that was brushed aside by the advocates of PGD. The Federal Council (FC) originally proposed PGD only for couples with “serious hereditary disorders”. But later on the FC could not resist the pressure exerted by different economically interested lobbies, as National Councillor Christian Lohr commented in the “Wiler Zeitung”. If the constitutional amendment was adopted, it would become the basis for further claims – which the National Ethics Committee (NEC) already formulated, i.e. egg donation, embryo donation, or the production of savior babies. Therefore, No to PGD.

Dr med Viviane Kaiser

 Data as the primary topic of interest?

On June 14, we are voting in a referendum whether more embryos may be produced than can be implanted directly into a woman’s womb. A constitutional amendment for a few wealthy families with hereditary diseases? This is hardly likely – otherwise for example, a chromosome screening for all couples using in vitro fertilisation would not already have been provided in the related implementing law. “The Federal Council had indeed originally chosen a quite pragmatic, reasonable approach, but then withdrew under the pressure of various interested circles including some economical ones” explained National Councillor Christian Lohr in the “St. Galler Tagblatt”. Radio stations, television channels and the “free” press are probably under the same pressure: It is striking, that in a suddenly flared-up “ethics discussion” the two major national churches, which clearly reject the constitutional amendment, could hardly get a word in edgeways in the media whereas the inhuman philosopher Peter Singer from Australia, who had suggested as early as in 2001 that an infant had the right to live only after 28 days after birth, was called to visit the country and was interviewed by the “NZZ am Sonntag” and in the “Sternstunde Philosophie” by Swiss TV. Peter Singer propagates Bill Gates’ global medical programs, and Bill Gates in turn justifies his programs with Peter Singer’s theories, at least since the two have met at the WEF in the year 2000. “Big Pharma” is present in these programs, too. On the occasion of chromosome screening, personal genetic data are obtained. Perhaps these data are even more important for certain circles than the approval of PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) in Switzerland?

Dr med Thomas Lippmann, Uznach

“Hands off human beings”

The PR-company Farner advised the pro-PGD-camp: the topic “eugenics”, “selection” should be avoided to win the vote. But: on 27th May Felix Gutzwiller, a prominent figure of the pro-camp, expressed in the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”: “The most extended eugenics is practised by nature itself by eliminating a great many embryos who are not capable of developing. In a laboratory you are doing nothing but this.” We can only be grateful for this sentence: If Felix Gutzwiller equates nature with the laboratory, he admits that it is about eugenics, after all. In the laboratory man breeds. But nature does not breed! Eugenics means: Man wants to breed human beings. The Social Darwinists and Mr Gutzwiller (as cited) imputes evolution with acting like a (breeding) man, claiming that man must take evolution in his own hands. – We should know whereto this would be leading. Nature has created life in more than four billion years. And now we want to know how to do it in 50 years? The PR office Farner advises the pro-camp: Impute the anti-PGD-camp with making people scared of eugenics! I am actually afraid of people who do not shy away from dealing with human beings in the lab as though they were peas! “Hands off human beings”, the great Swiss anthropologist Adolf Portmann warned in the sixties, when the man-breeders gained the upper hand again.

MA & lic phil Moritz Nestor, psychologist, Uzwil