Press Release


The Illinois Humanities Council presents the ninth program in its series: “Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution.”

CHICAGO – Genetic testing can give us information about our future children’s health and quality of life, but raises the specter of genetic engineering and its moral and ethical complications. Once we can screen for certain characteristics, will we start to screen out human diversity? How do we make private and public decisions about potentially modifying the makeup of our families and the general population?

“Who Gets to Live? Genetic Engineering and Human diversity” will take place on Wednesday, June 6 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. at Access Living, (115 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago).

This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To make reservations or for more information, contact the IHC at 312.422.5580, send an email to, or visit

The panelists for “Who Gets to Live?” are: James Bowman, M.D., Professor Emeritus, Departments of Pathology and Medicine, Committees on Genetics and African and African-American Studies, the University of Chicago; Kristi L. Kirschner, M.D., Medical Director, Women with Disabilities Center and Director, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Donnelley Family Disability Ethics Program; David T. Mitchell, Associate Professor, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago; and Bonnie Steinbock, Ph.D, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University at Albany, SUNY; fellow of the Hastings Center, and a member of the Ethics Committee of the American Society For Reproduction And Medicine.

Kelly Ormond, MS, CGC, Associate Professor and Director, Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling, Northwestern University, will moderate the discussion.

Who Gets to Live? Genetic Engineering and Human Diversity” is presented in partnership with the American Medical Association, Access Living, the National Society of Genetic Counselors and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Who Gets to Live?” is part of the Illinois Humanities Council’s year-long series, “Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution.” Programs are taking place around the state — in Carbondale, Chicago, Decatur, Lewistown, Peoria, and Springfield — to increase public knowledge of genetics by engaging Illinoisans in conversations about the genetics revolution and its impact on the individual and on society. Programs feature scholars, scientists, ethicists, artists, medical professionals, and philosophers as guest speakers. For the most recent calendar of events or for more information, please visit “Future Perfect” is funded in part by generous grants from the Motorola Foundation and The Boeing Company. Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5) and Illinois Channel are media sponsors for “Future Perfect.”

The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly; and by the NEH.


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