Sunday, 2 October 2011

Reflection: Deaf by design

Deaf by design is a very interesting article about deaf parents and their quest for a deaf baby. The deaf community being closely knit keeps them quite isolated from the outside world. They often reply on one another for support. And out of fear of not knowing how to raise their child to be a ‘hearing’, or having a negative opinion of the ‘hearing’ society. Those thoughts would lead them to make the decision of having a deaf child. Some deaf parents would even abort a healthy baby just to have a deaf one.
Through this study, it addresses the issue of should we be selecting for traits. My subjective view on this topic is quite hypocritical because I believe that it is okay to allow people to select for traits as long as the trait being selected is socially considered ‘good’. For example, I believe it is okay to abort baby with deaf hearing but you cannot abort baby if they are perfectly healthy. The reason for this is because I believe being deaf is a disability. Being deaf removes one’s ability to hear clearly and being able to hear doesn’t prevent one from learning things deaf people learn.  Also, I believe sign language is just another language that becomes an advantage for one to have just as any other language. Objectively I understand that we have to be fair. So if someone can abort because of a ‘bad’ trait we should be able to abort because of a ‘good’ trait especially when ‘bad’ and ‘good’ are such loose words.
Another problem that arises from this is what is considered good and what is considered bad. Suppose we decide to put regulation on this issue. Drawing the line between what is acceptable for abortion and what isn’t is quite difficult. I cannot say where the line should be draw because of my limited knowledge in the field; however I do believe that there should be a line.
My final opinion on this topic is that we should have minimum regulation on this issue. The regulation should be enough to prevent everyone from selecting for traits. This should be done to prevent the lost of genetic variation amongst the population. Genetic variation is very important to the survival of our species.

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