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Support for Genetic Discrimination

Genetic Crossroads
August 4th, 2000

New York Times Magazine columnist Andrew Sullivan has decided that genetic

discrimination is a good idea. Under the title "Promotion of the Fittest"
(July 23, 2000), Sullivan writes, "Like most notions that command almost
universal assent, the proposed ban on genetic discrimination makes far
less sense the more you think about it….genetic discrimination, however
troubling, is both rational and inevitable. And the sooner we get over
our hand-wringing, the better."

Meanwhile, a reporter for the Canadian National Post found a number of
insurance industry representatives who acknowledge that they would use
genetic data to discriminate. Laura Landon reports, "A top official with
one of Canada's largest insurance companies says his firm would use
individual genetic information when assessing client risk, should it
become available—and predicts most of the industry would follow suit."

Another official, a senior advisor with the Canadian Life and Insurance
Association, which represents most of Canada's insurance industry, argued
that genetic testing is not now "sufficiently predictive to be of great
value to insurers," but that it is not "different from other medical
information." Genetic data, he said, is "simply part of the health
history." ("Insurer says industry would use genetic data," July 6, 2000.)


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