Beyond “genetic discrimination”: Toward the broader harm of geneticism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter focuses on deeper lessons: not on strategies for using current law, but on a theoretical critique that should fundamentally revamp the way we frame the genetic problem and devise our legal, moral, and political responses. It argues that current state statutes and federal bills prohibiting genetic discrimination by health insurers demonstrate the inadequacy of an antidiscrimination approach to genetics. The poverty of current antidiscrimination analysis is illustrated by state statutes now being enacted and federal bills now being considered to prevent the use of genetic information and “genetic discrimination” by health insurers. The standard discrimination analysis embodied in these statutes and bills does not solve the problem it is meant to address. The language of “genetic discrimination” may continue to have a superficial appeal. It suggests, at a glance, something wrong, something akin to race or sex discrimination. But it also suggests an approach that scholarship on race and gender has found flawed and now transcends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGenetics and Gene Therapy
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781351934282
ISBN (Print)9780754620556
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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