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Pushing Eugenics as Smart Science

Bioethicist Jacob M. Appel puts me in mind of David Lynch for some reason, particularly when he asks:

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

One of America’s leading bioethics journals features a strong argument for assisted suicide for the mentally ill in its latest issue. Jacob M. Appel, a short story writer and lawyer who writes on bioethics, contends in the Hastings Center Report that “the principles favouring legal assisted suicide lead logically to the extension of these rights to some mentally ill patients”.

[Note that the principles favoring legal assisted suicide could just as logically be “extended” to people suffering a sprained ankle or canker sores. – AC]

In Switzerland this is already the case. In November last year the high tribunal in Lausanne set down guidelines for people with “incurable, permanent, severe psychological disorders” who want to terminate their own lives.

Mr Appel argues that that victims of depression or psychosis can make a rational choice about whether to end their lives, though given “the finality of a life-terminating decision”, the bar for assessing competence should be set higher. “If the values championed by assisted suicide advocates are maximimisation of autonomy and minimisation of suffering — even when they conflict with the extension of life — then it follows that chronically depressed, competent individuals would be ideal candidates for the procedure,” he asserts. …

Full story
OPINION: Pushing Eugenics as Smart Science
By Wesley J. Smith, Senior Fellow in Bioethics
March 08, 2009

Bioethicist Jacob M. Appel, who has written that mentally ill people should not be denied the “opportunities” to commit assisted suicide, now pushes mandatory pre-implatation genetic testing in all IVF fertility treatments in order to weed out the unfit (my term) and for whom care would be expensive. But don’t call it eugenics! From his column:

“The most obvious advantage of mandatory screening is that it will reduce the long-term suffering of the children who are spared disease. At the same time, preventing future cancers will certainly save tax dollars. These savings could be redirected toward researching new therapies and providing quality care for current patients. The money might also help to defer the enormous public costs of fertility therapy, coverage for which a growing number of states now require of private insurance plans…While similar screening cannot realistically be imposed upon individuals conceiving “the old-fashioned way,” for obvious reasons of logistics and privacy, these invasive aspects of screening do not apply to IVF.

“Opponents of mandatory screening will likely point out that such a rule significantly limits the reproductive autonomy of parents. This is certainly true. However, Western societies have long acknowledged that parental authority cannot undermine the medical interests of a child. Jehovah’s Witnesses may not deny their children blood transfusions; Christian Scientists cannot substitute prayer for life-saving antibiotics. As United States Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge wrote in the landmark case of Prince v. Massachusetts, “Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves, but it does not follow that they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children.”…

Such crass utilitarian utopianism is precisely what eugenics was all about. And its message is insidious: Those with expensive disabling conditions and diseases are a burden on society and you should not be allowed to be born–as a favor to you!

Then Appel makes a huge gaffe:

“The fear expressed by many opponents of genetic screening, both elective and mandatory, is that our civilization is sliding down a slope toward selecting embryos for their skin complexion or their eye-color.”

No, they won’t do that in the future. No way. They are doing it today!

If IVF can be coupled with mandatory PGD, then every pregnancy can be coupled with mandatory prenatal testing to be sure we weed out all children who are not optimal to the new eugenicists via abortion. Indeed, such mandatory prenatal testing is already being pushed.

And if all else fails, there is always infanticide, as is happening in the Netherlands, with support from some mainstream bioethicists.

Appel is a mainstream bioethicist who is a university professor and has been published in the Hastings Center Report with his call for assisted suicide for the mentally ill. And some bioethicists wonder why I am so worried about the direction in which the bioethics movement seems intent on taking us.


  1. Lyle Courtsal October 7, 2011

    The problem with genetic testing is the one I have always had problems with ethically. That those who are permanently depressed and psychotic due mostly to societal factors beyond their control and also due to brain malnutrition that can be physiologically compensated for should not die and this is why. In the case of unemployeable battering victims whose experience is seen as contrasting with the idea that the US is a nicey, nicey democracy where people care about each other. They have been both victimized by a fascist regime that sees women as subhuman slaves whose lives are supposed to be suborned to their marital partner instead of intelligent, self-determining beings in their own right as God intends. Further, the US is not and never has been an accepting mutually beneficial society according to the Christian ideal, except for ten years when mainstream rightwing amerikkka was apoplectic over their liberation, self-determination, and freedom to live their own lives free of society’s cultural oppressions and narrow-mindedness. There is always the nicey, nicey propaganda facade and then there’s the far more barbaric, slefish, and latently supremacist reality that says,
    Woman since when did we say that you could just quit being the house nigger and suddenly decide to just step out on your own and do what you wanted. Also the nicey , nicey facade hides a far more violent, oppressive, and predatory domestic reality; one where the lives of the wife and the children are forced into being used to benefit and gratify the head of household gratuitously without question, even to the point of hiding abuse and predatory sexual abuse and incest. That is not God, America, and Christianity, that is it’s opposite. While the so-called family values republicans peddle the bullcrap, they push policies both socially and economically that annihilate both a a culture that supports the elderly and disabled in our homes and communities and push policies that actually destroy middle class extended family support and survival safety nets. It is more than hypocrisy, it is outright deception. This is the pattern I noticed over and over during the 80’s; they would make promises that attracted and seduced the base into supporting policies that in actual expression produced the exact opposite of what was promised. They are worse than thieves and liars, they are mass murderers and there is a long history to prove that as well.
    The problem is when they lie and then act on a scale that not only endangers the lives of the dependent vulnerable who are that way through no fault of their own, they also destroy humane cultural norms that protect our society from it’s worst self-centered tendencies. If we have the technology to senf information around the world in a second, it should be no problem to compensate for genetic shortcomings people have through using compensatory health care regimens. Why is that a problem for them? They wanted to hide the real history of the Vietnam war from the people by killing off the veterans; they want to deny the reality of just how violent and malicious our culture by silencing it’s critics and those victimized by it’s sanctioned violence and complete irresponsiblity to those poisoned in their ghastly workplaces. That is why they will end up in hell. Remember the next two biggest lies of the devil; He does not exist and you don’t have to worry about the consequences of your greedy activities because you can lie and buy you way out of taking responsibility for them. That is always what the worst of humanity has always sought to do and that is why they go to hell three days after they are dead.


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