Monday, November 28, 2011
Michael Waterstone recently posted a blog item on GINA that described a talk he gave in Ireland on genetic discrimination. The full post is well worth reading, but I'll copy a small part that I found to be particularly interesting:
Ultimately, as passed, GINA is both modest and revolutionary. Modest, because it just prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information in employment and the provision of health insurance. There are large legal issues relating to genetic information and genetic privacy that GINA does not touch: the preference of parents for certain genetic features in unborn children, the use of genetic information in life insurance policies, and the use of stem cells to further genetic science. Yet GINA is also revolutionary: usually, in our antidiscrimination law, Congress looks backward, building a record of discrimination in a particular area before it acts. Yet despite widespread fears of genetic discrimination, GINA was passed without much evidence that this was actually occurring on a large scale. To critics, this meant it was a "remedy in search of a problem." To supporters, GINA represented a rare opportunity for the law to get out ahead of a problem and proactively create a culture that this type of discrimination is not acceptable.