Well intentioned, terrible misuse

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This last week Chinese officials announced plans to curb the rampant sex-selective abortions taking place in China, abortions inspired by the governments oppressive and anti-life policies.  Due to a huge discrepancy between the number of boys and girls born over the recent years, with boys outnumbering the girls, the government has now begun to see the flaws in its One Child Policy.  For years, Americans have looked at the state of affairs in China with disgust but the atrocity of gender selected abortions could be creeping close to home.

Recent breakthroughs in medical technology could potentially allow parents of unborn children to see the gender of their baby at an earlier age.  According to a study done by the National Institutes of Health and published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, a baby’s gender could be determinable by as early as five to seven weeks.This timeframe for determining the gender of one’s baby is quite sooner than the methods used currently which typically do not reveal the sex of the baby until the tenth to sixteenth week.  On top of all that, it is accurate.  At seven weeks, it is said to be 95% accurate which is great news for doctors who would potentially be relying on this technology to treat gender specific diseases found in unborn babies.  It may not be such good news for the babies themselves, however.  For those babies who would be given earlier and more specialized treatment, it would be phenomenal, but for those who would be subjected to ‘family planning’, it would be far from phenomenal; it could mean death.

In China the sex-selective abortions are driven by a desire, especially in rural areas, to make sure their one-child is a male who can do physical labor and provide economically. Here in the United States it could simply be driven by a selfish and vain preference for certain sexes.  It would be taking family planning to an all new destructive level.  And the concerns about this the new medical technology are not unfounded.  The very study that these impressive results were published in voice these concerns.  As does the mainstream media with articles titles such as ABC’s “Blood test’s to predict baby’s gender shown to work: Will Abortion rate soar?”  The threat of this technology being misused is very real.

One might question, however, why a surge in abortions would take place with this new breakthrough, when currently, parents can determine the gender of their baby only a few short weeks after this test would be revealing it.   The answer would be, simply put, five weeks and fifteen weeks are worlds apart in a pregnancy.  At the five to seven week period an abortion can be induced through a pill whereas any later along in the pregnancy a more invasive surgical procedure must be undergone to abort the baby.  Also, the difference, psychologically, in carrying one’s daughter or son for ten more weeks and seeing the more marked progression in the pregnancy of your child should not be dismissed.  He or she is a baby and the longer a parent has for that to sink in, the harder it is to kill their own flesh and blood.

While this testing is not unethical in itself, the environment where it is being introduced into presents an ethical dilemma.  Testing to give a baby and its mother earlier more specialized care is pro-life and admirable.  Testing to suit one’s fickle personal preference is disgusting and abominable.  If we had a government and society which had the moral compass to speak out against the sin of abortion as a whole, this dilemma would not be here.  But sadly that moral compass is missing and, because of that, we could be left with a country that is not as different from its Asian neighbors as it once thought it was.

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