Nos enfants et la sélection génétique

MELBOURNE – En avril, le parlement allemand a assigné des limites à l'utilisation des tests génétiques. La loi allemande constitue-t-elle, sous sa forme actuelle, un modèle pour d’autres pays en butte aux problèmes éthiques que pose la connaissance sans cesse croissante de la génétique humaine?

Certaines des dispositions de la loi allemande s’inspirent de principes éthiques universels, tels que le droit à l’autodétermination et le respect de la confidentialité. On ne peut soumettre personne à un test sans son consentement préalable. Ni les employeurs, ni les compagnies d’assurances ne sont autorisés à exiger des tests génétiques. Chacun a à la fois le droit de savoir – c’est à dire d’être mis au courant des résultats de tout test génétique le concernant – et celui de choisir de ne pas connaître l’avenir que lui réserve ses tests. De plus, il est interdit de défavoriser ou de stigmatiser quiconque en raison de son patrimoine génétique.

Pour estimables qu’elles soient, ces dispositions ne risquent pas moins de coûter cher aux compagnies d’assurances allemandes. Si on n’autorise pas celles-ci à recourir aux tests génétiques, tandis que celles qui sont hors d’Allemagne en ont tout loisir, les gens qui se savent condamnés à une vie courte iront souscrire leur assurance-vie auprès d’assureurs allemands. Ceux-ci auront davantage d’indemnités à verser que leurs concurrents étrangers pour les cas de décès prématurés; pour compenser cette dépense supplémentaire, ils se verront obligés d’augmenter leurs primes, ce qui les rendra moins compétitifs.

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