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One doctor calculated from the study’s findings that “almost 10,000 children will be stillborn or born with birth defects this year in the United States from first-cousin marriages.
Not marrying a cousin is a more potent remedy than many of the medications we prescribe for heart attacks.” Perhaps states should at least require cousins to get genetic counseling before marrying, as Maine has done.
And if procreation between first cousins is too dangerous, why stop there? Why not test everybody for bad genes, ban marriage between carriers, and let cousins without bad genes marry each other?Science has deflated the scientific objections to cousin marriages. North Carolina and West Virginia explicitly prohibit me from marrying you, but 20 other states don’t. Because if it is, bear in mind that you and I have as many genes in common as an uncle and niece do.If you and I can marry, why can’t an uncle and an adult niece? Would you rather restrict marriage to ordinary first cousins? First cousins have as many genes in common as a man and his half-brother’s child do. If first cousins can marry, why can’t Roger and Chelsea? If you still won’t cry uncle, let’s look at hard-core incest.Six states ban marriage between first cousins once removed, i.e., marrying the son or daughter of your first cousin. Banning cousin marriage keeps these couples in the closet, deterring them from seeking genetic screening, which would help them decide whether they could safely have kids. The best way to curtail such diseases would be to ban marriages within ethnic groups.Theoretically, that’s half as risky as marrying your first cousin, in terms of increasing the probability of passing on a genetic disease to your kids. And as the NSGC study notes, the crude assumption that children of cousins will turn out badly leads to unnecessary abortions. , CNN, and their journalistic brothers in arms have spun the increased risk found by the NSGC study as no big deal.