The undersigned organizations and individuals support the strong existing international consensus against human genetic modification (HGM*). We wish to express our great concern and opposition to those scientific and other institutions currently seeking to legalize HGM.
HGM is medically unnecessary. Carrying it out is an act of extreme scientific irresponsibility, likely to have enormously detrimental consequences for individuals and for society.
The history of eugenics led to the prohibition of human cloning and HGM both in some international human rights treaties and in many countries in the 1990s. We support this international ethical consensus, despite new technical capabilities for performing HGM. .
We believe that:
- Engineering the genes of babies goes against a universal acceptance of diversity and the inclusion and equality of all vulnerable individuals and minority groups. Rather than competitively genetically “enhance” babies, we want to foster a world that celebrates and accepts all individuals and groups of people and is not based on oppressive and biologically deterministic biases about what constitutes a human being. «better». Allowing HGM would exacerbate existing social inequalities. It would be an act of scientific irresponsibility and, in an age of growing neo-fascism, also of political irresponsibility.
- Like human cloning, HGM is cited as contrary to human dignity in international declarations and treaties because it reduces humans to the status of designed and optimized consumer objects.
- There are a number of safe and effective alternative methods to avoid genetic conditions, so the only advantage of HGM would be to guarantee 100% genetic paternity of the child. On this basis, it is unethical to subject a child to the serious health risks potentially caused by genetic modification.
- We are also concerned about the health risks and exploitation of the people from whom eggs are obtained for the research that makes HGM possible.
We call on the UN to create an international convention permanently banning HGM and human cloning. For the sake of our sons and daughters and our common humanity, we must not cross this ethical line. *
We use the term “Human Genetic Modification” (HGM) instead of “genomic editing”. The scientific people who promote HGM introduced the latter term to allay public concerns about creating designer babies. We use the term “human genetic modification” to refer to the genetic modification of human eggs, sperm, or embryos to create a person who is genetically modified in every cell of her body and who will pass the genetic changes on to her offspring. However, we are not opposed to the genetic engineering of cells (such as skin, liver or lung cells) to treat specific diseases, which is often referred to as somatic gene therapy.