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January 23, 2007


In utero diagnoses bring up all kinds of ethical issues.

I just wrote on a similar topic today at http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2007/01/23/an-ethical-dilemma/

I asked, "If a genetic predisposition to homosexuality were proved and it could identified in utero (i.e., in an unborn child), would your position on abortion change in either direction?"

Hopefully pro-lifers would still choose life. But the pro-choicers, who are typically pro-"same-sex marriage" and such have a dilemma. If they would support a legal exception such that potentially gay humans could not be aborted, why is that their only exception?

And if they wouldn't support an exception then they find themselves in the odd position where they think it should be legal (though perhaps not desirable) to kill potentially gay humans, while those holding pro-life/pro-traditional marriage views think it should be illegal to do so.

Neil, I think you give too much credit to pro-choice side. They lack any interest in considering the dilemma that you propose should be examined. From what I've seen so far, they simply don't see this as an issue of a human being having human rights, regardless of any kind of genetic predisposition.

Tagline: Intellect is a human attribute, not property, that we all share...at least those of us who aren't to selfish and greedy to do so.

Both times when my wife (in her 40's) became pregnant with our daughters we were referred to a specialist who offered high resolution ultra-sound to possibly detect Downs and who strongly urged drawing amniotic fluid to detect Downs. When we refused and I pointed out that the simple act of drawing amniotic fluid for the test increased the risk of spontaneous abortion to a higher risk than that of the children having Downs (at my wife's age) the doc gave me a cold stare and got huffy... both times. I made it perfectly clear that unless the amnio test could allow us to actually correct a medical problem then it was a naked risk without medical benefit and therefore unethical according to the Hippocratic oath, "first, do no harm".

BTW, our girls are beautiful and healthy. But even if they were Downs it would have been the right decision.

Eric, glad everything worked out for you all! I've heard many similar stories of doctors who encouraged abortions, only to have healthy kids delivered (though, as you noted, life is the right choice either way).

Louis, you are probably right that I'm giving pro-choicers too much credit. But think of it this way: The best case scenario of my line of reasoning is that they reconsider their abortion-on-demand views.

The worst case is that it throws cold water on their ability to call us "homophobes" and such, because we would be firmly against the legal right to kill unborn children with predispositons to be gay while they would not.

I have recommended the most recent issue of Touchstone magazine in a previous thread. It has many articles of interest touching on this topic. Here is a link:


Sorry for making an off-topic comment, but I wanted to let all my friends and sparring partners here know that I finally have my own blog up and running. Feel free to stop by and check it out - just click on my name below. I hope it's stimulating. Thanks!

I had both my children in my 40's. I had genetic testing done during both pregnancies. I had no intention of abortion. As a social worker who works with developmentally disabled children, I wanted to prepare myself and my family in case any problems were detected during the pregnancies.

I’m a little surprised we don’t hear more ethicists pointing out the moral qualms with women over 35 actively pursuing IVF treatment. The probability of birth defects across the board go exponential in your 30’s. Abortions and in utero testing aside, a more important life saving stance to take would be to encourage adoption for women in this age bracket.

You wouldn’t put a 35 year old fire extinguisher in your kid’s room and you shouldn’t give your kid a 35 year old ovum.

They all go bad eventually.

Hey Tony, do you view Eric as a bad father for giving his kids an old mother?

To be fair, Jonathan, I'm not sure that's a charitable way to interpret Tony's argument. I think his point has some merit, in that he is just saying that we have statistical data that shows an increased risk for a certain group of people, and if someone from that group of people requests a certain procedure, it's legitimate to offer an alternative that avoids that risk.

Actually, Tony...I agree.

Have fun traveling (if you're still out-and-about)!

um...with you, I mean, not with Jonathan. Cheers.

"Actually, Tony...I agree.

Have fun traveling (if you're still out-and-about)!

um...with you, I mean, not with Jonathan. Cheers."

I was only asking Tony if he was willing to apply his idea or if he was only tossing it in the air for discusion. I wan'ted to get straight to the piont. Actually Tony does seem reasonable.

huh who what where??? whose talking to me?

yes i'm still travelling - been 1 yr and 6 months now on the road. in an internet cafe in bangkok now.

>> "Hey Tony, do you view Eric as a bad father for giving his kids an old mother?"

It depends. For example, in the 60's and 70's people never put their kids in seat belts. But having every driver in a seat belt we now know significantly decreases the probabilty of death. So a mother would be guilty of negligence to not use them now. - But not so guilty 30 years ago.

So given the new info about ovum age, women shouldn't use them.

"women over 35 actively pursuing IVF treatment"
Thanks for making clear that your comments were specific Tony.

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