One year after the Swiss electorate accepted a constitutional amendment allowing preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), the question is again being put to the vote. Pro-life groups are attacking the law implementing the amendment via a referendum, but they are not the only ones going into battle – parliamentarians across the political spectrum also believe the new text goes too far. As soon as the constitutional article was accepted (by 61.9% of voters), conservative Christian circles called for a referendum against changing the law on medically assisted reproduction. In December 2015, over 58,000 valid signatures were handed to the Federal Chancellery – some 8,000 more than the required minimum.
But why vote again one year later on a matter that seemed decided? Before the verdict of June 2015, Switzerland was the last country in Europe to still ban PGD. But while the constitutional article now opens the door to genetic screening, it gives no details on its implementation, which are laid down in the revised law.
In the first version, the cabinet wanted to authorise PGD only for those couples at risk of transmitting to their child a serious hereditary disease that was likely to develop before the age of 50, and for which there was no cure. But parliament has now gone further than that.
The final version of the law establishes that all embryos conceived in a test tube can be examined using all the genetic techniques available, and then selected. In this way, embryos with Down syndrome (trisomy 21) can be destroyed before implantation.
Full Article: Swiss vote again on genetic screening – SWI swissinfo.ch.