Sins of the Fathers: Fact 1

In the near future, technology for genetic editing like CRISPR Cas-9 and its refinements, will enable us to prevent many diseases, disabilities and developmental “disorders.” In Sins of the Fathers, a story in the “Heirs” universe, I address the issue in the context of a proposed Constitutional Amendment that provides genetic editing free of charge to prospective parents.

(The Amendment also limits the constitutional right to progeny to essentially one per citizen (two per couple), and contains various other innovations to be discussed in later posts.)

With regard to genetic editing of gametes, blastocysts and fetuses, there is a conflict of interest among three groups with legal and moral interests in such editing:  Progenitors (the parent/s), the resulting Progeny (the child), and the Government (in parens patriae and in its role as employer of citizens). For example, deaf parents may want to select for deaf children, while in most circumstances, both the Government and Progeny themselves usually would prefer children to be born with all senses.

Similarly, religious parents may prefer “natural” (traditional) methods of creating children, while the Government and Progeny may prefer edits to minimize future health costs and improve both Progenitor and Progeny productivity. Avant Garde parents may wish to edit for more intelligent, more musclely, or more biddable children (of course many parents already often select for sex), while the Government may prefer to enforce a balanced range of Brave New World’s male and female Alphas, Betas, Gammas and Deltas.

In Sins of the Fathers , the protagonists seek reasonable accommodations among these conflicting interests.

The reason I have not released the story, however, is because it focuses on the agonizing of the drafters of the proposed Twenty-Eighth Amendment. This is a secondary drama. The primary drama begins with the first parent challenging the Amendment.

So I dither. Should I write the more emotional, limited-issue stories first to better engage readers, or is it a moral imperative to release the first, more cerebral and comprehensive story to get important issues considered sooner rather than later?

What do you think?