Monday, August 29, 2005

Roberts v. the Future

Sunday, in the magazine section of the New York Times, there was a long piece asking us to consider the future questions that would be put before the Supreme Court in order to better judge the suitability of Roberts. I certainly can agree that that would be a prudent measure since a great many of those issues with be bioethical based; however, that approach magnifies how unprepared we are to have a true debate over the nature of the bioethics beast. When the basis for rejection or acceptance of a parent's "right" to select their children based on certain traits can be reduced to liberal or conservative, libertarian or traditional, it shows our fundamental inability to grasp the nature of the issue.
" while a libertarian conservative like Anthony Kennedy, who argues that the Constitution protects a broad sphere of autonomy over intimate and personal decisions, might vote to overturn it.[A state law banning the use of genetic testing of embryos for selective purposes]
At the moment, the Kennedy-style vision of personal autonomy is most vigorously defended among legal scholars by a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin named John Robertson. He argues that the right to have offspring or not, recognized in Roe v. Wade, necessarily entails some right to select the characteristics of the offspring. ''The liberal notion of autonomy over reproduction includes some right of selectivity that logically could extend to nonmedical traits,'' Robertson told me, ''but how far has to be sorted out by the Supreme Court and the country.'' "

This issue really isn't about parents rights to do what they want with their children. Its about what it means to be human and to what extent our "tinkering" with ourselves harms both our freedom and our dignity. I'll repeat: this is about what makes us human. I, for one, would be terrified if the Supreme Court suddenly decided it was within its realm of power to decide that!