No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

Goodbye, you are the weakest fetus.

One of the things I forgot to put in my previous entry was

#8 Some troglodyte tore off Becca's Darwinfish and half of an anti-Bush bumpersticker ("Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot").

Anyway, Toren inquired about my eugenics statement:
"No one will ever feel pity for the poster child of the eugenics movement. Think about it."
I did think about it but I'm done now. Explain!

Well, as the FreeDictionary succinctly puts it, a poster child is "a child afflicted by some disease or deformity whose picture is used on posters to raise money for charitable purposes." But a successful child of the eugenics movement would have no diseases or abnormalities, so no one would feel sorry for it.

Anyway, my sentence was prompted by this NYTimes article describing how amniocentesis and other diagnostic methods are giving parents more and earlier information about the fetus, leading to a "grassroots eugenics movement" as parents decide to terminate pregnancies for various reasons. Sure, I can understand someone not wanting to have an anancephalic child (click at your own risk, or one with Down's syndrome or cystic fibrosis, but some of the reasons are becoming trivial:

"Dr. Jonathan Lanzkowsky, an obstetrician affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, described one woman who had been born with an extra finger, which was surgically removed when she was a child. Her children have a 50-50 chance of inheriting the condition, but she is determined not to let that happen. Detecting the extra digit through early ultrasounds, she has terminated two pregnancies so far, despite doctors' efforts to persuade her to do otherwise, Dr. Lanzkowsky said.

Other doctors said that they had seen couples terminate pregnancies for poor vision, whose effect they had witnessed on a family member, or a cleft palate, which they worried would affect the quality of their child's life.

In an extreme case, Dr. Mark Engelbert, an obstetrician/gynecologist on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said he had performed an abortion for a woman who had three girls and wanted a boy."

A very debatable topic. Eugenics of 100 years ago included the sterilization of the unfit, generally without their consent. That's clearly reprehensible.
Now, parents are making their own choice to terminate a pregnancy. Abortion is legal, so what's the problem? The woman who wants a boy is making a decision no more casually than a woman who has an abortion for convenience or as a form of birth control. But it still gives me the willies. Perhaps it's because she wants a child... just not that one.
Tags: news, science

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