Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Genes and Discrimination

Congress sent President Bush a bill Thursday forbidding employers and insurance companies from using genetic tests showing people are at risk of developing cancer, heart disease or other ailments to reject their job applications, promotions or health care coverage, or in setting premiums.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously, 95-0, and the House passed the bill 414-1, with the only dissenting vote by Ron Paul, R-TX.

Cool, right?

Don't get me wrong I'm all about non-discrimination and I think this is a good thing. But, I have a couple of observations here:

1) Does this mean that we're finally going to stop gouging the parents of teenaged male drivers? I mean, it seems to me that the supposedly statistically higher risk of boys being predisposed to more reckless behavior behind the wheel than girls is based pretty much on genetics.  So, does this bill, should it become law, mean that insurance companies will no longer be able to legally use statistical bullshit and stereotyping to penalize males drivers - since their maleness is derived entirely from their genetic makeup?  Hmmm, how much you want to bet there's a loophole?

2)  I find it interesting that Congress can vote overwhelmingly to end discrimination based on genetics, but can't seem to muster the wherewithal to end the widespread discrimination against gay marriage, non-Christians, and etc.  Just so I'm clear on this, it's OK to discriminate against gays in something as important and personal as a long term stable partnership and all that entails, but it's not OK to discriminate against somebody who might be genetically predisposed to certain disorders?  I guess the bible doesn't have anything to say about the Human Genome Project.

I could go on here, but I won't.  I'm busy today and have to leave for Anchorage in a couple of minutes.

Again, I think this is a good law, I just don't think it goes nearly far enough. How about a law that says discrimination, based on race, creed, color, religion or lack thereof, sex, sexual orientation, statistics, or any other damn fool thing is illegal and contrary to the ideals of the Constitution and the founding principles of the United States?

Probably too much to expect.

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