For immediate release, March 14, 2019

Call for moratorium on GM babies is part of the problem, not part of the solution

New grassroots activist group Stop Designer Babies (1) today criticised the call of a group of scientists for a moratorium on the creation of GM babies, arguing that it is really part of a technocratic procedure for manipulating public opinion, in order to eventually permit them. Although a moratorium is better than the current trend towards legalisation, scientists’ self-regulation, lacking legal teeth, would be flouted by those scientists determined to go ahead, as has already been shown.

Since there is no medical need for this technology, a permanent global legal ban is therefore the only proper solution, but the Nature article actually opposes such a ban. It even fails to call for a ban on genetic ‘enhancement’, only stating that this would not be acceptable ‘at this time’. It also advocates the extremely dangerous eugenic ‘solution’ of widespread preconception screening, and ignores the many public statements of opposition to such a new eugenics by disabled people.

Stop Designer Babies warned that scientists would face a social backlash similar to that over GM foods, if it continued to push for these medically entirely unnecessary technologies.

David King, a member of the Stop Designer Babies group said, “Do not be fooled by another group of scientists and ethicists claiming to be ‘more responsible’ than rogue scientist He Jiankui. All they are trying to do is to bring the approval of this new technology back within the normal technocratic process for engineering public acceptance. There is absolutely no medical need for creating GM babies. But human genetic engineering would be a Weapon of Mass Social Destruction, especially in an era of rising right-wing authoritarianism. Only a global treaty banning cloned and genetically modified babies can halt the threat of a new eugenics.”

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Notes for editors

1. Stop Designer Babies is an international network of concerned citizens and activists seeking to prevent the legalisation and normalisation of designer babies, created following the news of the birth of the first GM babies in China. An organisation that supports the right of women to terminate their pregnancies, we seek an international ban on human germline genetic engineering and cloning.