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For Everyone

Editor's note: The link to the Nation piece is currently not working, as the piece is in the middle of being reposted, according to a tweet from Hercher. The link will be updated then.

Preconception and prenatal genetic screening should be made available to any woman who wants it, writes Laura Hercher, the director of student research in human genetics at Sarah Lawrence College, at the Nation. Otherwise, she cautions, there may be a growing gap between groups that can afford such screening and those who cannot.

Hercher writes that most people in the US are OK with using genetic technologies to prevent disease, though not to alter traits like eye color or intelligence, for fear of so-called "designer babies." Instead, she notes the people are all for "healthier babies." But even there, Hercher adds that currently only people who can afford preconception and prenatal genetic screening can avoid passing on these genetic disease risks. "If that does not change, we will reduce the burden of genetic disease only for those who have access: access to money, to education, to new treatments, to reproductive medicine, to testing, to abortion," she writes. "Certain populations will benefit, and others will be left behind."

To avoid that eventuality, Hercher argues that there needs to be better access to both genetic and assisted reproductive technologies so that all who want and all who may be at risk have access.