Lawmakers Act to Block Genetic Discrimination in Work Place
Inebriated Press \ Division of Rant
May 15, 2008
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 414-1 earlier this month to bar businesses and insurance companies from using the results of genetic tests to deny people jobs or coverage. The bill passed the Senate 95-0 in April. In this new era of DNA testing and genetic analysis new tests will be able to more accurately predict whether you’ll get cancer or another illness. Experts debate whether it’s fair to make laws that prohibit people or companies from acting today on potential future outcomes.
“It’s enough of a gamble just walking around the streets of Detroit for fear of getting hit by a stray bullet. I should at least be able to use the results I can get from DNA testing to choose if I want to insure someone, fire an employee or screw some guy with a chance of getting knocked up with his kid,” said Candy Apple Red, an insurance company executive whose typically bright outlook is often overshadowed by uncertainty, regardless her attention-getting name. “If we believe we need to act on the idea of global warming by taxing companies and ramping up costs in an effort to impact the 5% of greenhouse gases we can, all because of a hundred or so years worth of questionable data on a universe that existed before time; then the least we can do is use to our benefit the available DNA data we have which contains a high level of accuracy. No one really knows whether we can have any impact on global warming at all, or whether we’ve done anything to cause it to begin with. But DNA testing provides hard data that can be depended on. And that we want to ignore? I don’t get it. My insurance business is getting screwed on all sides of this game and I don’t like it.”
Others say it’s important that we don’t discriminate against people just because the odds are high that they will encounter specific diseases in the future. “People have enough trouble finding and keeping affordable healthcare already and if we allow employers and insurance companies the right to adjust premiums based on genetic history, well the next thing we’ll be doing is discriminating against them if they smoke or take drugs and we’ll be requiring them to take tests to prove that they don’t,” said Dimm Bulbb, a seemingly thoughtful guy who pays attention to nothing and is often caught off guard when things he fears have already happened. “What, we do require drug testing and charge smokers more for insurance? Well shit. Now what? If we can make a law that genetic history doesn’t count, why shouldn’t we make a law that my own health history and what I do with my body also doesn’t count? Where should discrimination begin and end? Are we making arbitrary law or is there something genetic that predicts these kinds of events but its being kept secret from us?”
Bloomberg news reported earlier this month that the U.S. House supported legislation already backed by the Senate that bars companies and health insurers from using results of genetic tests to deny people jobs or coverage, sending the measure to President George W. Bush. Bush is expected to sign it. Genetic tests can help predict someone’s likelihood of getting cancer and other diseases and are used by researchers seeking new treatments. People will be less afraid of getting tested when insurers are prohibited from denying coverage or raising premiums based on test results and employers are blocked from using the information in hiring or firing, lawmakers said before the vote.
The New York Times reported earlier this year that Katharine Moser had taken months to convince the clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan that she wanted, at the young age of 23, to find out whether she carried the gene for Huntington’s disease. Eventually they gave her the test. It came back positive. Huntington’s, the incurable brain disorder that possessed her grandfather’s body and ravaged his mind for three decades, typically strikes in middle age. But most young adults who know the disease runs in their family have avoided the DNA test that can tell from birth whether they will get it, preferring not to know. The gene that could kill Moser sits on the short arm of everyone’s fourth chromosome, where the letters of the genetic alphabet normally repeat C-A-G as many as 35 times in a row. In people who develop Huntington’s, however, there are more than 35 repeats. No one knows why. Would an insurance company want to insure Moser? Should they have to?
“Caring for the societies sick and weak are what makes humanity what it is and we should not become a culture built on survival-of-the-fittest Darwinian ethics that casts aside human beings for a bad turn of luck,” said Fore Luv, a tennis aficionado and humanitarian who sees in DNA testing the fearsome chance that the new age will be one with Hitler-like tendencies. “We’ve already devalued life by aborting our children on demand and many countries euthanize old and sick people. If those things are okay then it must be okay to kill people without waiting for them to become sick and a drain on society’s resources. It’s a slippery slope and we’re on it. If human life for its own sake isn’t worth protecting and can be discounted or destroyed for reasons of finance or convenience, then what should we do when we can predict clear costs and hardships to people or society? With every human life we stuff out because of cost and inconvenience, we chip away at our humanity. Darwinism doesn’t prove compassion or humanity; it seeks to prove a history of humankind descended from animals. If we apply it as a philosophy, we will live like animals and not humans. Entropy exists in both physical space and ethical space. If we don’t resist it, real progress grinds to halt. In recent years aborted human fetuses’ have been used in the manufacture of women’s makeup containing collagen. Collage is the gelatinous substance found in connective tissue, bone and cartilage. If ‘modern’ humankind can use it’s unborn in beauty products, then we aren’t any different than the cannibals who wear the skin and bones of their victims to adorn themselves. Why wouldn’t we discriminate over DNA testing? We’re already racing backwards.”
In other news, The Boston Herald reported last week that James Brown’s widow, Tomi Rae Hynie, has been ordered by a judge to submit her 6-year-old son, James Brown II, for DNA tests, to prove the late soul singer fathered the child. The Godfather of Soul died on Christmas Day in 2006, leaving the majority of his estate to trusts and charities. But Hynie and the legend’s six grownup children are contesting the will, which failed to accommodate, or even mention, his wife or little James Brown II. No word on whether Brown left his wife and kid out of his will for Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest reasons or if it was just his own faulty DNA acting up.
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