The Issues of Immoral Manipulation of Medical Technology in the Film, Gattaca
The film Gattaca, on the surface a science-fiction action film, actually targets many
deeper issues regarding immoral manipulation of medical technology. The events of the film take place in a futuristic society where people are genetically engineered to be superior, and where there is very little privacy due to routine genetic testing. While these conditions may seem far from reality, many of the technologies used by the Gattaca company and the police force in the film closely mirror those which we already have. The Church has painstakingly outlined a set of regulations on how medical technology may be used morally, attempting to avert such exploitation. By following these principles, our society might be saved from fulfilling the outcome that Gattaca implies could be ahead.
The three major points of morality raised in Gattaca are genetically engineering people via trait selection, discrimination based upon genes, and forced genetic testing by law enforcement officials. Most parents in the film used synthetic, laboratory methods for conceiving children with specifically selected traits. The Church speaks adamantly against any non-natural way of conceiving children, and the idea of trait selection is especially immoral because it involves intervention in natural conception. In the film, “God children” are the ones that are not conceived synthetically and are largely considered inferior. This opens a whole new field of discrimination – now people aren’t only judged by their outward expression and appearance but by the contents of their nuclei. The Church asserts that all people are of equal value, so placing value on individuals by their genetic makeup is immoral. Genetic testing was also abused in Gattaca. Law enforcement officials were able to require genetic tests of everyone in the company to track down a criminal. While catching criminals is a positive outcome, violating rights to reach it is unacceptable. There is very little privacy in a society where people don’t have rights over their own DNA.
At one point in the movie, a woman is seen gong into a shady business and having her
boyfriend’s DNA tested from her tongue after they kissed. The free availability of genetic testing in Gattaca is perhaps the most disturbing part. There is very little difference among people if everyone is built to be perfect, and interrupting the natural order of life is strictly immoral. Humans do not have the right to play God – but they do have the right to their own DNA.