Discrimination against persons with disabilities is just as morally repugnant as discrimination against persons based on race, religion, or sex, but it is not at all clear that PrGD and PGD reinforce or contribute to this in any manner. Regardless of how society might change (as it surely ought to change) its attitudes and practices to decrease or, better, eliminate the socially created disadvantages wrongly placed on the disabled–and regardless of how individual persons might change their views on the prospect of knowingly having a child with a serious disability, other persons will prefer not to have a child with a serious disability, no matter how wonderful the social services, no matter how inclusive the society. It is this individual choice that PGD preserves, although the clinicians who offer PGD have a moral obligation to explore their own and their patients’ attitudes about, and understanding of, disability so these individual decisions can be made fairly and responsibly with accurate information about the real world of life with and without disability.
In 2008 Humanists UK made a submission to a House of Lords inquiry into organ donation , was consulted by the Organ Donation Taskforce, and gave oral evidence to the Welsh Assembly Government Committee Inquiry into Presumed Consent for Organ Donation , recommending that the UK adopt a presumed consent ‘opt-out’ organ donor scheme to replace the current ‘opt-in’ scheme. While the Organ Donation taskforce did not recommend the introduction of a system of presumed consent at the present time, it did recommend public investment into education about organ donation, which we welcomed.
Genetic engineering and transgenics continue to present intriguing and difficult challenges for 21st century scientists and ethicists, and education and meaningful, respectful discourse are just the beginning of what is required to tackle such complex ethical issues. Until we as a society or, perhaps, as a global entity can agree on what beings—human or otherwise—are worthy of moral and legal status and respect, we can expect intense cross-disciplinary debate and discussion as new life forms are created through science and medicine.