The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 1:
‘All human beings are born ... equal in dignity and rights.’
Proponents of heritable human genome editing (HHGE) intend to realize modification of the DNA of the newborn and their future offsprings, so it may prevent transmissions of serious genetic diseases from one generation to another.
The proponents suggest that such genome editing interventions should not be ruled out, if the following preconditions should be met:
they are accepted as safe
a pertinent bio-medical rationale exists
societal as well as ethical challenges should have been debated and considered within public governance
Nevertheless there is concern that interventions through HHGE would intensify social imbalances and could lead to the stigmatisation of individuals with certain genetic features.
Another concern is, that a reduction of the diversity in humans would take place, if some genetic expressions were to be entirely eliminated.
If this technology is allowed for clinical applications, 'we' assent to the enhancement of individuals and their offspring. Enhancement would be an application of heritable human genome editing.
Our social relations will be influenced by the changing of the social norms and undermine social contentment. Our pattern of our interactions will change as a result of the changing of our social norms.
Using the genome editing technology to create the 'perfect' or 'ideal' human, would we risk thereby that we could become less tolerant of 'imperfections'? A person who couldn't embrace the norm of perfection would be perceived as 'disabled' and not as a person with a difference that needs to be sustained. This future imperfection would therefore be discarded, or simply not brought to life.
A genuinely inclusive and pro-equality society has no preferences between all possible future persons. For all existing and future individuals are perceived with equal worth and value.
The Scottish Council on Human Bioethics has produced the following animated video on whether heritable genome editing is compatible with equality in an inclusive society.