James Watson would have aborted his son if a genetic test had been available at the time warning that his child would be born with severe epilepsy.
Declaring “I’m not a sadist”, the man who co-discovered DNA said that parents, especially mothers, should have a right of genetic veto over the make-up of their child.
“Any time you can prevent a seriously sick child from being born, it is good for everyone,” Dr Watson told The Sunday Age. “Most mothers wouldn’t want to have dwarfs.”
Dr Watson’s views are based on a fierce libertarianism and personal experience. One of his two sons is severely disabled from complications caused by epilepsy, and will soon undergo a type of surgery in Switzerland only done 11 times before.
Problems with his son’s health left Dr Watson unable to open the International Congress of Genetics today in Melbourne. Instead he will appear before the conference, which is held every five years, by videotape.
…”Who would be against having better children?” he said. “If it goes wrong and creates a social problem, then maybe you ought to do something about it.”
I can just imagine the cheerful family conversations in the Watson house.
You know daddy it is just too bad there weren’t any of those genetics tests available before I was born, you would have been able to safely abort me and not deal with my problems. I know son, if only we could have known ahead of time you wouldn’t be alive. Can you read me a bedtime story from Kevorkians book of Biblical tales? I just love that line from Kevorkians translation of Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I genetically tested you, and before you were born I checked your genome; I aborted you if you are not a profit to the nations.”